Alternate Title

Observing Reef Fishes from Submersibles Off North Carolina


During August and September 1979, the submersibles JOHNSON SEA LINK-II and NEKTON GAMMA were used to observe fishes at 13 reefs in Raleigh, Onslow, and Long Bays, N.C., at depths ranging from 23 to 152m. Reefs with the highest profile (up to 10m) and in depths of 52 to 92 m exhibited the greatest fish species richness and abundance, while adjacent sandy areas were usually barren of fishes. Estimates of recreationally and commercially important reef fishes were 61/ha (S.E. 59.9) over sand and 774/ha (S.E. 748.1) over reefs, with considerable variation between stations. Ninety-nine species in 35 families were observed. Most numerous were Holocentridae, Serranidae, Priacanthidae, Haemulidae, Sparidae, Sciaenidae, Chaetodontidae, Pomacentridae, and Labridae. Many tropical species previously thought to be rare off North Carolina were abundant.