Benthic and pelagic fish biomass of the upper continental slope off eastern Tasmania

Abstract

Benthic and pelagic fishes were sampled east of Maria Island, Tasmania, at two-monthly intervals from April 1984 to June 1985, from the surface to the bottom (500 m depth), using commercial-sized trawls. Biomass was calculated by the “area swept/volume filtered” method and divided by estimated catchability coefficients so that catches from the two sampling gears could be combined. Of the 54 families caught, three (Myctophidae, Squalidae, Sternoptychidae) contributed 25% of the 115 species. Most benthic and dispersed species were caught regularly, whereas most pelagic species occurred only occasionally and in low numbers, although a core group was always present. Total fish biomass was high (range=77 to 532 g m-2; x= 390 g m-2), due almost entirely to the myctophid Lampanyctodes hectoris (over 90% of the biomass). Benthic biomass was relatively low and stable, but derived from many species. Pelagic biomass was high, fluctuated widely and was composed of a few species. Biomass was highest in summer: Maurolicus muelleri increased by a factor of 200, Diaphus danae by 50, and L. hectoris, Macruronus novaezelandiae and Lepidorhynchus denticulatus by almost 10. Peaks in biomass may correlate with the interactions of the subtropical convergence and the East Australian Current and the resultant marked seasonal cycle in water temperature, nutrients and primary productivity.

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With an appendix by T.J. Kenchington, CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia

Communicated by G. F. Humphrey, Sydney

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May, J.L., Blaber, S.J.M. Benthic and pelagic fish biomass of the upper continental slope off eastern Tasmania. Mar. Biol. 101, 11–25 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00393474

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Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Water Temperature
  • Seasonal Cycle
  • Continental Slope
  • Core Group