An exploratory investigation of the fish communities associated with reefs on the central Agulhas Bank, South Africa
Despite their ecological and economic importance, the temperate reef habitats of the central Agulhas Bank remain poorly studied. From 2008 to 2010, multiple stations grouped into six general sites of varying depth, profile and distance offshore, were surveyed. A combination of linefishing and fishtrapping was found to be most suitable to assess the ichthyofauna. The survey yielded a total catch of 8470 individuals (45 species) from 183 stations from a depth range between eight and 100 metres. Multivariate analyses indicated that the demersal reef fish community of the central Agulhas Bank is determined by depth rather than distance offshore, and that offshore reefs can function as fish aggregating structures for some of the region’s overexploited species such as carpenter (Argyrozona argyrozona).
Key words: fishery species, linefish, marine biodiversity, temperate reefs.