Surveys in American Samoa Compare Fishery-independent Sampling Methods for Reef Fish Assessment

During April 2-18, 2012, the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette completed an expedition to compare fishery-independent methods for sampling coral reef fish assemblages around Tutuila in American Samoa. The mission was led by researchers from PIFSC and involved collaborators from the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, University of Western Australia, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of Hawaii, as well as partners in the Government of American Samoa. Data collected during the expedition enable a quantitative assessment of the fishery-independent sampling methods and a habitat-specific evaluation of bias and selectivity of each sampling gear type with respect to various species, size classes, and life stages.

BRUVS sampling was conducted at 138 locations around Tutuila, American Samoa, in a study of fishery-independent methods for 
               coral reef fish assessment.
BRUVS sampling was conducted at 138 locations around Tutuila, American Samoa, in a study of fishery-independent methods for coral reef fish assessment.

During the cruise, 3 sampling methods were evaluated: SCUBA Stationary Point Count (SPC), Baited and Unbaited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS), and the SeaBED Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). Divers from the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division conducted 158 SPC surveys. BRUVS were deployed at 138 locations. The AUV was deployed on 17 occasions, covering 29 km of seafloor and collecting 50 hours of stereo-video data and 52,000 still images of benthic habitat. The SPC surveys were conducted in depths of 0-30 m. BRUVS and AUV surveys were conducted from 0 to 100 m, overlapping subsets of the SPC surveys within the 0-30 m depth range.

Stationary point count BRUVS AUV
During the study, several reef fish assessment methods were used: stationary point count (left), BRUVS (center), and AUV (right).