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Title: Demersal fish assemblages around sea bed features : Buzzard oil & gas field platform in the North Sea and Jones Bank, Celtic Sea
Author: Martínez, Iñigo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 5626
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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The maximum number (Nmax) of fish was recorded using baited underwater camera (BUC) techniques to study spatio-temporal changes of the fish community in localize areas. In the central North Sea (~100m depth) abundance models revealed that for both, whiting and flatfish, the Nmax was influenced by light level at the time of deployment. Nmax of hagfish was strongly related to current speed in a non-linear way with a predicted upper threshold (~11 cm.s-1) above which Nmax declined. Current speed and inter-annual variation had an important effect on haddock Nmax. Large predators that prompt avoidance mechanisms (e.g. large conger eel, marine mammals and fishing vessels) and bottom current speed >25 cm.s-1 can modify demersal fish behaviour depending on size and species and therefore have important effects on BUC-derived data. The BUC was applied for the first time to the monitoring of the Buzzard platform, a new oil and gas development in the central North Sea that host 12 demersal and benthic fish species. The benthic taxa, flatfish and hagfish, showed higher numbers closer to the platform whilst the most mobile species showed constant numbers (haddock) or highest numbers outside of the 500m of Exclusion Area (whiting). No significant changes in fish diversity were found between the areas surveyed before the platform construction. After the construction, the species richness and diversity were higher outside the 500m Exclusion Area surrounding the platform. Offshore sand banks, like oil platforms, can modify the composition of the local fish abundance. BUC and commercial trawl observations on the Jones Bank (75-150m depth, Celtic Sea) recorded 23 species, the highest richness, on top of the bank and 18 species on the slope and off-bank areas. Conger eel and Nephrops were both absent from the top of the bank site whereas haddock was only observed in the bank area.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Underwater imaging systems ; Fisheries ; Deep-sea fishes