ASCLME Benthic biodiversity of seamounts in the southwest Indian Ocean Cruise report
Seamounts are ubiquitous yet poorly understood oceanic ecosystems. They are hotspots of biodiversity and biomass in the open ocean and of commercial importance for fisheries. At the same time they are locations where VMEs (vulnerable marine ecosystems) are often found and are thus at danger from significant adverse impacts from fishing. This is the case in the Southwest Indian Ocean where there is a paucity of data from seamounts but an active deep-sea trawling fishery for species such as alfonsino (Beryx splendens) and orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus). Thus the aims of the present cruise were to ground-truth models of habitat suitability for deep-sea stony corals which are associated with VME formation and to analyse the fauna and oceanography of five seamounts of the Southwest Indian Ocean Ridge. Two of these are voluntary protected areas by the Southern Indian Ocean Deep-Sea Fishers Association (SIODFA).
10 Jan 2014