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Video methodologies for deep water surveying of Queen conch (Strombus gigas): A comparison study in Turks & Caicos Islands 2023


Queen conch (Strombus gigas) remains one of the most important fishery resources in the Wider Caribbean Region, but growing demand has led to problems of over-fishing, illegal landings and declines. Unfished deep-water adult populations of queen conch are considered critical spawning stock refugia (Apeldoorn 1997; Boman et al. 2021) but are challenging to study using dive surveys due to safety considerations and practical limitations. Underwater video methods like the towed video method (TVM) from Boman et al. (2016) have proven to be effective for surveying larger areas and deeper waters for conch in the wider Caribbean region for the last decade and have been compared against other established methods such as the use of scuba divers (Cruz-Marrero et al. 2020).

As part of an EU ReSEMBiD (Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity) funded project focussing on sustainable management of the queen conch fishery in TCI, novel underwater visual surveys of queen conch are being completed on the Caicos Bank: an expansive underwater plateau south of the Caicos Islands. In this study, two methodologies that could provide a more time and cost-effective way to survey deeper depths than divers can safely reach were compared: the established towed video array method (TVM) and more novel underwater drone (ROV). Due to surveying conditions and time limitations, the scope of this study was restricted to a qualitative comparison of the two survey methods. The results of this are summarised within this report.

Please note a minor amendment was made to this report in March 2023, to include some additional information in Section 3.1.5.

This report may not be fully accessible for all users. If you need a copy in a different or more accessible format, please get in touch.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2023·02·01

van Rijn, J., Austin, R., Henry, T., Littlewood, A. & Lockhart, K. 2023. Video methodologies for deep water surveying of Queen conch (Strombus gigas): A comparison study in Turks & Caicos Islands. JNCC Report 728. JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

This report was produced by JNCC in collaboration with Jimmy van Rijn (Wild Conscience), the Department of Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR) and the Department of Fisheries & Marine Resource Management (FMRM), Turks & Caicos Islands. The study was funded by the European Union ReSEMBID (Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity) Fund.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2023·03·10

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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