The icthyofaunal composition and trophic interactions of the artificial "Liberty Ship" reefs off Port Aransas, Texas




Vetter, Russell
Roels, Oswald A.

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This study is an assessment of the biological effects resulting from the construction of an artificial reef consisting of three surplus Liberty Ships that were sunk off Port Aransas, Texas in 1976. ... Systematic monthly assessment of the Liberty Ship Reefs presented a unique sampling problem. Snagging problems made trawling and other methods of netting unfeasible while depth, turbidity and currents precluded diver transects, baited camera recorders, or hook and line assessments, at least during the winter sampling periods. Fish traps were proposed as a reliable and cost effective means of sampling in all types of weather and sea conditions. Fish traps allow concurrent sampling of open bottom areas and reef with the same ship, making possible a true comparison of the relative productivity of artificial reefs. They also allow consistent day-night sampling and seasonal replication without the inherent variations in skill that bias diver transects and hook and line assessments. This initial report describes the construction and deployment of traps and summarizes the data collected during January-February sampling cruises. These initial sampling cruises indicate that fish traps are a practical method of assessing the productivity of the artificial "Liberty Ship" reefs.
Winter seasonal report submitted to the Texas Coastal and Marine Council in partial fulfillment of IAC (78-79)--0869
Submitted March 1978