Species composition and habitat preferences of the nearshore fish fauna of Bonne Bay, Newfoundland

Published on 2018-06-19T05:00:00Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background Determining biodiversity baseline is the first step toward establishing species monitoring and conservation programs. In this study we report on a 10-year survey of the fish fauna of Bonne Bay, a fjord surrounded by the Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The objectives of our study were: 1) to determine the fish fauna of Bonne Bay using standardized sampling methods; 2) to gather information on the habitats of fishes of conservation concern; and 3) to provide baseline information on Bonne Bay as a potential candidate for a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA). Methods A survey of the fish fauna of the inner Bonne Bay was conducted each summer from 2002 to 2011 at multiple sites representing a range of fish habitats within the fjord. Sampling gears included two types of beach seine, gillnets with various mesh sizes and a bottom trawl. Species composition was statistically compared across sites within the fjord. Results We collected and identified 29 fish species from 17 families. Fish assemblages comprised anadromous, estuarine, and marine fish species, including a late-maturing type of winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata) that is rarely found in the adjacent waters of the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Similarity in species composition across sites reflected salinity, substrate composition, and presence of eelgrass (Zostera marina), but not the geographic distance between sites. Conclusions Bonne Bay’s adjacency to a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, its diverse fish fauna that includes several species of conservation concern, its potential for education and enjoyment, and its stewardship by local people are suggestive of the future candidacy as a NMCA. The data presented here will help managers assess the potential of Bonne Bay as a National Marine Conservation Area.

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Le Bris, Arnault; Wroblewski, Joseph (2018): Species composition and habitat preferences of the nearshore fish fauna of Bonne Bay, Newfoundland. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4138961.v1