Catch of pelagic hauls in Mediterranean acoustic surveys: Is it the same between day and night?
Keywords:acoustic, pelagic hauls, day-night sampling, Mediterranean Sea, anchovy, sardine
Fish sampling is a critical aspect of acoustic surveys, because it is directly related to the “transformation” of echo into species biomass and subsequently affects the accuracy of acoustic estimates. In the present study, we investigated the differences between day and night sampling in a) the catch composition through certain diversity indices and b) the length frequency distribution of anchovy and sardine using catch data of pelagic hauls collected from four different regions of the European Mediterranean waters. In addition, the possible bias in trawl efficiency due to sampling time and the possible error introduced in acoustic estimates were investigated. No statistically significant differences were found between day and night in any of the parameters examined. The results showed that a more flexible strategy can be adopted to reduce the duration and the cost of acoustic sampling for small pelagic species. The advantages and disadvantages of the two sampling strategies are discussed.
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