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Title: Nearshore habitats as nursery grounds for recreationally important fishes, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
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Title: Nearshore habitats as nursery grounds for recreationally important fishes, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Abstract
        Page 2
    Main
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Tables
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Figures
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Appendix
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
Full Text








FINAL REPORT


Submitted to:


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
SPORT FISH RESTORATION PROGRAM


State:


U.S. Virgin Islands


Project Number:

Project Type:


Project Title:

Study Title:


Period Covered:

Date of Report:

Report Written By:




Project Staff:



Report Reviewed By:


F-7


Research and Survey


Recreational Fisheries Assessment Project


Nearshore habitats as nursery grounds for recreationally
important fishes, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

October 1, 2002 to September 30, 2001

December 2, 2002

Ivan Mateo, Principal Investigator
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
U.S. Virgin Islands.

William Tobias
Hector Rivera
Willy Ventura

Dr. Wes Toller, Fisheries Biologist II
Dr. Roger Uwate, Chief of Fisheries
Dr. Barbara Kojis, Director of Fish & Wildlife






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 2
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


ABSTRACT

Three protected backreef embayments on St. Croix's southeast coast were sampled to determine
fish species composition and juvenile fish abundance. The three study sites (Turner Hole Bay,
Robin Bay, and Great Pond Bay) were sampled monthly from July 2000 to September 2001.
Juvenile reef fish assemblages were sampled using three complementary methods: visual strip
transect census, fish trap, and beach seine net. By comparing juvenile fish communities from
distinct habitats (patch reef, seagrass, rubble, algal plains, and sand) within the three
embayments, significant differences in fish densities and number of species per area were
identified. Patch reef and rubble habitats had more fish species per area than any other habitat.
Juvenile fish commonly observed in embayments included scarids, labrids and haemulids. The
slippery dick, Halichoeres bivittatus, the bucktooth parrotfish, Sparisoma radians, the spotted
goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus, and newly settled Haemulon unknown were among the most
abundant species found in embayments. The juvenile phase of certain economically important
reef fishes appear to prefer these backreef embayments.


Key Words: juvenile fish, nursery habitat, embayment, backreef






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 3
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

INTRODUCTION

Coastal habitats are extremely productive, diverse, and valuable marine resources (Robblee and
Zieman 1984; Rooker and Dennis 1991; Boulon 1992; Lindeman and Snyder 1999). Nearshore
habitats such as mangrove systems, seagrass meadows, and backreef areas support highly diverse
fish and macro invertebrate communities around the world, and are essential nursery areas for
juvenile fishes, lobsters and conchs (Boulon 1986; Stoner and Waite 1990; and Appeldoorn et al
1997). Furthermore, these coastal habitats support adult fishes foraging on the rich and varied
faunas associated with these structurally complex habitat types (Ogden and Zieman 1977;
Zieman et al 1982; Robblee and Zieman 1984). Their importance to marine and estuarine species
of commercial and recreational value has been widely demonstrated (Ogden and Zieman 1977;
Zieman et al 1982; Robblee and Zieman 1984; Rooker and Dennis 1991; Boulon 1992;
Lindeman and Snyder 1999; and Nagelkerken et al 2000). The direct value of nearshore habitats
as nursery grounds is primarily based on the refugia that these environs provide from predation
pressure, resulting in reduced mortality, although feeding links have been found (Robblee 1987;
and Corcheret et al, in press). Other studies suggest that habitat complexity, hydrodynamic
effects on larval supply and stable substrate may also contribute to the increased abundance and
species diversity of nearshore fish communities (Rooker and Dennis 1991; Dennis 1992;
Chabanet and Letourneur 1995; and Nagelkerken et al 2000).

This report documents results from a study of nearshore fish assemblages within three backreef
lagoon areas on the southeast end of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. This information is essential
in the management of these areas to sustain and enhance their ecological and fisheries value as
nursery grounds.


Description of Study Sites

The three embayments on the southeast end of St. Croix sampled in this study included: Turner
Hole Bay, Robin Bay, and Great Pond Bay (see Figure 1). These embayments are part of the
southeast end bank-barrier reef system that extends from East Point to Vagthus Point (Figure 1).

Turner Hole and Robin Bay are embayments with similar characteristics (Hubbard 1989). They
are almost 1,000 m long and approximately 300 m wide over most of their lengths and are
enclosed by a narrow barrier reef. In both lagoons, depths range from a maximum of
approximately 1 m to 8 m at both eastern and western ends and most of the bottom is covered by
seagrasses (Thalassia testudinum and Syringodiumfiliforme) occurring in beds of varying
density (Hubbard 1989). Halimeda spp., Penicillus spp. and various species of macro algae are
also locally abundant within the seagrass beds (Hubbard 1989). In the deeper portions of both
lagoons, areas of sand or thin grass cover are dominated by 10 to 20 cm high sand mounds
formed by the burrowing shrimp, Callianassa spp. (Hubbard 1989). Other benthic organisms
include widely scattered colonies of scleractinian corals such as Porites astreoides, Montastrea.
annularis, and Diploria spp. (Hubbard 1989).






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 4
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


The third bay, Great Pond Bay, is approximate 2 km long and 3.5 km wide. It is bounded on its
landward side by the baymouth bar and seaward by a continuous coral-algal reef (Bruce et al
1989). The inshore portion of the lagoon is covered by the seagrass, T. testudinum, and lesser
amounts of S. filiforme (Bruce et al 1989). Seaward of that, the majority of the lagoon floor is
sand with numerous mounds produced by the burrowing shrimp, Callianassa spp. (Bruce et al
1989). Scattered patches of S. filiforme occur along with the algae, Dictyota spp., and Penicillus
spp. Scattered coral heads, including M. annularis, Diploria strigosa and Siderastrea spp., also
occur in the lagoon. Lagoon depths range from a maximum of approximately 1 to 7 m at both
eastern and western ends.


METHODS

Sampling

Sampling Periods The nearshore nursery habitats in three protected backreef embayments on
St. Croix's southeast coast (Turner Hole Bay, Robin Bay and Great Pond Bay) were sampled
monthly from July 2000 to September 2001. However, due to engine problems with the DFW
vessel and bad weather, there was no sampling during the months of November 2000 and April
2001 for all embayments. Also, there were no visual census and trap samplings for Great Pond
and Robin Bay in December 2000, for Great Pond in March 2001 and for Robin Bay in August
2001. These were also due to bad weather and engine problems with the DFW vessel.

Sampling Grid For each bay, a 20 x 20 m grid pattern was laid over a nautical chart of each
embayment. Grid intersecting points were labeled with consecutive numbers. This numbered
grid was the basis for selecting transect survey sites and trap sites (see below).

Transect Sites Once a month during the survey period, 10 sites per embayment were randomly
selected based on the numbered grid pattern described above. The sample size (10) for transects
was based on a preliminary fish census (see Rogers et al 1994).

Prior to each transect survey, the compass bearing for the transect line was randomly selected.
GPS coordinates were not recorded for each transect. Instead, each location was determined by
line of sight with landmarks on the shore. Once at the site, one end of the 50 m transect line
tape (marked at 1 cm intervals) was dropped in the water (using a small weight), and the transect
line tape was laid by the diver in the direction of the randomly selected compass bearing. A
different compass bearing was randomly selected for each of the 10 transect sites sampled each
month. At each transect site, two different surveys were completed: (1) a benthic survey, and (2)
a fish census. These are discussed in detail below.

Any transect site that had previously been surveyed was discarded and another randomly
selected site was chosen until 10 previously not sampled sites were selected. Sites selected for
fish traps (see below) were excluded from the universe of possible transect sites within each
embayment.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 5
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001



Benthic Surveys Benthic substrate surveys were conducted at each transect site. The benthic
habitat categories selected for this survey included: patch reef, rubble, sand, algal plain, and
seagrass (see Adams and Ebersole, in press). These habitat classifications are defined in
Appendix A.

Habitat categories were recorded along the 50 m transect line. When habitat category changed,
the reading along the transect line was recorded to the nearest cm. For areas of mixed substrate
composition, the habitat category that dominated the particular area was recorded as the habitat
category. The percentage composition of each habitat category (for each transect) was estimated
by summing the length of line within a habitat category and dividing by the total length of the
transect line (50 m).


Fish Census At each transect site, a fish census was completed by two divers swimming the 50
m transect line. One diver inspected 2 m to the left of the transect line and the other diver
inspected 2 m to the right of the transect line. Thus, each transect surveyed a total of 200 m2
(50 m x 4 m). Along each transect line, divers recorded observed major habitat category type
(see Appendix A) and changes in habitat along the transect, fish species in that habitat category,
number of fish present for each species, and fish size categories to the nearest cm.

For each transect site, fish densities within habitats were calculated by summing the number of
fish within a habitat and dividing by the total area of that habitat within the transect area (200 m2
x percentage of a habitat from benthic survey).

For most fish species, the following size categories were used: <5 cm total length (TL), 5-10 cm
TL, and >10 cm TL. For small fish species such as wrasses, grunts, gobies, blennies, cardinal
fish and damselfish, an additional size category was added (<3 cm TL). For these small fish
species, fish <3 cm TL represented newly settled fish (recruits). However, since fish <3 cm TL
are difficult to identify to the species level, identification of recruits was typically limited to the
genus level. These are indicated here as species unknown. Data were pooled at the genus level
for subsequent analyses.


Fish Traps Fish traps used in this study were rectangular (92 cm x 57 cm x 19 cm) and made
from vinyl-coated wire with 1.3 cm bar mesh. Each trap had one escape panel (15 x 10 cm).
The outside rectangular funnel entrance opening measured 23 cm high x 25 cm wide. The funnel
was 45.7 cm deep from the outside rectangular opening to the inside oval entrance. The inside
funnel opening was 10.2 cm high by 7.6 cm wide. Each trap was baited with approximately 0.5
pounds of herring.

For each embayment, ten fish trap sites were randomly selected each month based on the 20 x 20
m grid (see above). If a grid number was selected as a transect site (see above), it was omitted
and never used as a fish trap site. Each trap was fished for 24 hours. All fish caught were
identified and measured (total length) to the nearest millimeter, then released. The habitat where






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 6
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


each fish trap was set was not recorded due to low visibility on several sampling dates and time
constraints.

Each month, 10 new fish trap sites were randomly selected for each embayment. Once a grid
site was used as a trap site, that grid site was omitted and not included in the universe for
subsequent trap site selection.


Beach Seine The beach seine net measured 30.5 m x 122 cm and had weights and floats
attached. The net mesh size was 1.3 cm stretch mesh. Two PVC pipes (1.75 meters long each)
were fixed vertically at each end of the net.

Two beach seine hauls were conducted monthly in each embayment. In the first month, the two
seine-hauls were done on the east side of each embayment, spaced about 10 to 20 m apart. The
following month, the two seine-hauls were repeated on the west side of each embayment. For
subsequent months, the seine-haul sites alternated from the east side to the west side of each
embayment.

For each seine-haul, one end of the seine net was fixed onshore. The other end of the net was
manually pulled out into the water, perpendicular to shore. Once the net was fully extended, the
seaward-end of the seine net was pulled to shore in an arc with the shore-end of the net fixed.
The total area of the sweep was about 730 m2 (7c x 30.5 m2 /4). All fish caught in the seine net
were identified, enumerated, measured (TL) to the nearest millimeter, and released at the point of
capture.


Data Analysis

Visual Census The distribution of fish density and number of species per area estimates
(pooled embayment, transect site and monthly data) were analyzed based on the following
procedures.

1. Normality was checked using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov normality test (SPSS Science
1997).

2. If estimates failed the normality test even after log (x +1) and square root
transformations, non-parametric statistics were used to analyze the data.

3. Estimates for each embayment were then compared using the non-parametric Kruskall-
Wallis One-Way ANOVA on ranks (Sokal and Rohlf 1981).

4. If significant differences were detected, then Dunn's multiple comparison procedure was
used to detect differences in mean estimates between embayments.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 7
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

The Shannon-Weaver Diversity Index H' (Shannon and Weaver 1949) and the evenness index J'
(Pielou 1974) were applied to fish density estimates for each habitat and embayment. These two
indices were calculated for each southeast St. Croix embayment by month (pooled transect site
data), then for each southeast St. Croix embayment by habitat (pooled transect site and month
data). H' and J' estimates (pooled embayment, transect site and monthly data) were analyzed
based on the procedures outlined above.

Differences in densities of fish by fish length (size class) among habitats and embayments were
also analyzed based on the procedures outline above, except that a two way ANOVA was
applied (not the one-way ANOVA as indicated in item 3 above).

A two-way ANOVA on ranks was used to detect differences in fish densities between size
classes and habitats (pooled embayment, transect site, and monthly data). If significant
differences were detected, then Dunn's multiple comparison procedure was used to identify
differences in fish densities between specific fish size classes and habitats.

Similarities of fish assemblages between habitats were measured using the percent similarity
formula (PS) based on species presence and fish abundance (Gauch 1982). Transect site, month,
and embayment data were pooled for this comparison.

The four most common species ("key fish species") observed in all embayments were selected
for further examination. For each of these species, monthly changes in fish densities for each
embayment were compared. Monthly changes in densities of recruits (<5 cm TL) of each of
these species were also compared. For each key fish species, the distribution of fish density
estimates for each embayment (pooled transect site and monthly data) were analyzed using the
procedures outline above.


Fish Traps and Seine Nets The distribution of estimated catch rates of fish and species in traps
and seine nets (pooled embayment, trap site and monthly data) was analyzed using the same
procedures as outlined above for visual census data.

The four most common fish species caught in fish traps and the three most common fish species
caught in seine nets in all embayments were selected for further examination. For each of these
key fish species, monthly changes in fish catch rates for each embayment were compared.

The distribution of trap and seine net catch rate estimates for each key species (pooled
embayment, trap site, and monthly data) were analyzed using the same procedures as outlined
above for visual census data.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 8
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

RESULTS

Visual Strip Transect Census

For Turner Hole Bay (pooled transect site and monthly data), a total of 4,893 fishes were
observed representing 66 species and 23 families (see Table 1). Small (<3 cm TL) newly settled
grunts, Haemulon unknown, accounted for 26% of fish observed. Differentiation of these very
small grunts to the species level was not possible. The slippery dick, Halichoeres bivittatus, was
the second most abundant fish (12% of fish observed).

For Robin Bay (pooled transect site and monthly data), a total of 4,464 fishes were observed
representing 48 species and 21 families (see Table 1). Newly settled grunts (genus Haemulon)
accounted for 54% of all fish observed and the bucktooth parrotfish, Sparisoma radians,
accounted for 11% of fish observed.

In Great Pond Bay (pooled transect site and monthly data), a total of 5,314 fishes were observed
representing 53 species and 22 families (see Table 1). Small (<3 cm TL) newly settled grunts
(genus Haemulon) accounted for 66% of fish observed. The French grunt, H. flavolineatum
(which could be distinguished from congeners) accounted for 9% of all fish observed.

In Turner Hole Bay, seagrass was the dominant habitat sampled (Figure 2) covering almost 80%
of the substrate found on transects. It was also the dominant habitat in Robin Bay transects,
accounting for 85% of the habitat surveyed. However, Great Pond Bay substrate was dominated
by sand (66%) rather than seagrass (20%). In Turner Hole, Robin Bay, and Great Pond Bay
patch reefs were scarce, accounting for 2%, 1%, 1% of the substrate surveyed respectively
(Figure 2).

Peaks in monthly mean fish density were different for each embayment. In Robin Bay, fish
densities peaked in June 2001 whereas in Turner Hole Bay fish densities peaked in August 2001.
In Great Pond Bay, fish densities did not show a distinct monthly abundance peak (Figures 3a).
Temporal patterns in species densities were similar for the three embayments (see Figure 3b),
and showed no clear trends. Species diversity (H') and evenness (J') mean values were also
similar for the three embayments (see Figures 4a and b), and showed no clear seasonal trends.

Visual censuses revealed significant differences in fish density, number of species per area, and
diversity indices between embayments (see Appendix B, numbers 1 to 3, p<0.05). Great Pond
had significantly higher fish density than Robin Bay (Appendix B number 1, p<0.05). Turner
Hole Bay had significantly higher number of species per area than Robin Bay (Appendix B
number 2, p<0.05) and had a significantly higher diversity index than both of the other
embayments (Appendix B number 3, p<0.05). However, there were no significant differences in
evenness values among embayments (Appendix B number 4, p>0.05).

For Turner Hole Bay and Robin Bay, patch reef habitats had the highest number of fish and fish
species per area compared with other habitats in those bays (see Figures 5a and b). In Great






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 9
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

Pond Bay, rubble habitats and patch reefs habitats had the highest fish and species densities
respectively, compared with other habitats in this bay (Figures 5a and b).

Fish density and number of species per area estimates (pooled embayment, transect site and
month data) for each habitat were significantly different (see Appendix B, numbers 5 and 6,
p<0.05). Patch reef and rubble habitats had significantly higher fish densities than algal plain
and sand habitats (see Appendix B, number 5). Patch reef and rubble habitats also had
significantly higher number of species per area than other habitats (see Appendix B, number 6)

There were significant differences in H' between habitats (Figure 6a, see Appendix B, number 7,
p<0.05). Diversity was significantly higher in patch reefs and rubble habitats than algal plain
and sand habitats. There was no significant differences in J' between habitats (Figure 6b, see
Appendix B, number 8, p>0.05).

Results of the two-way ANOVA indicated that there were significant differences in fish (size
classes) found in different habitats (Tables 2 and 3, and Appendix C, number 1, p<0.05). Dunn's
Multiple Comparison Test indicated that for all fish size classes (initially combined, then
separately by each size class), patch reefs had significantly higher fish densities than in other
habitats (Appendix C, number 1, 2, 3, and 4, p<0.05).

Among all three embayments, divers counted more <5 cm TL fish in Great Pond Bay Bay than in
the other two. More large fish (>10 cm TL) were counted in Turner Hole Bay (see Table 3) than
in the other two embayments, however these differences were not significant (see Table 3,
Appendix C, number 10, p>0.05).

Results of the percentage similarity of species composition and fish densities between habitats
(see Table 4) indicated that algal plains and seagrass beds shared the greatest similarity (67%)
followed by rubble and patch reefs (64%). Fish assemblages from sand and patch reef habitats
were least similar (15%, see Table 4) in this comparison.

From a total of 72 fish species observed in this study (see Table 1), 18 economically important
species from the St. Croix fishery were selected for subsequent analysis. A comparison of length
frequencies for each of these 18 economically important species by habitat is made in Table 5.
Sparisoma viride, and Scarus iserti (Table 5) had higher densities of recruits (<5 cm TL) in patch
reefs (3.42, and 27.98 recruit/100 m2, than juveniles and subadults (>10 cm TL) (0.12, and 0
subadult/100 m2, respectively). Ocyurus chrysurus recruit (< 5 cm TL) densities (see Table 5)
were highest on algal plains (0.41 recruit/100 m2) while larger individuals (>10 cm TL) were
most abundant on patch reefs (0.4 subadult/100 m2). Lutjanus mahogoni recruit (< 5 cm TL)
densities (see Table 5) were highest on rubble habitats (2.53 recruit/100 m2) while larger
individuals (>10 cm TL) were most abundant on patch reefs (0.37 subadult/100 m2). Densities
of newly settled grunts Haemulon unknown (<3 cm TL) were highest on algal plains compared
with other habitats (see Table 5).

The four most common species observed in visual transects included: H. flavolineatum, H.
bivittatus, S. radians and Haemulon unknown (see Table 1). Monthly H. flavolineatum densities






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 10
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

(for all fish size classes combined) and recruit (<5 cm TL) densities had peaks in September
2001 for Robin Bay (see Figures 7a and 7b). Monthly H. flavolineatum densities (for all fish
size classes combined) for Turner Hole Bay had a distinctive peak in March 2001 while recruit
(<5 cm TL) densities showed a peak in July and August 2000. Monthly H. flavolineatum
densities (for all fish size classes combined) for Great Pond Bay had peaks in October 2000 and
August 2001 while recruit (<5 cm TL) densities peaked in August 2001.

Monthly H. bivittatus densities (for all fish size groups combined) and recruit (<5 cm TL)
densities are presented in Figures 8a and b. There were no distinct temporal patterns in H.
bivittatus densities (combined size classes) and recruit (<5 cm TL) densities.

Monthly S. radians densities (combined size classes) and recruit (<5 cm TL) densities peaked in
September 2000 and August 2001 in Turner Hole (see Figures 9a and b). For Robin Bay, overall
S. radians density and recruit (<5 cm TL) density had a major peak in July 2001 and June 2001
respectively (see Figures 9a and b). For Great Pond there were no distinct abundance peaks for
S. radians overall densities (combined size classes) or recruit (<5 cm TL) densities.

Monthly Haemulon unknown densities (combined size classes) appeared to peak in June 2001 in
Turner Hole Bay and Robin Bay (see Figure 10a). For Haemulon unknown recruits (<5 cm TL),
density peaks were similar (compare Figures 10a and b).

Densities of each of the four key species were compared among embayments and no significant
differences were observed (Appendix B, number 9-12, p>0.05).


Fish Traps In Turner Hole Bay, 446 fishes were caught by traps. These fishes represented 31
species and 18 families (Table 6). The fish caught most frequently was the doctorfish,
Acanthurus chirurgus, accounting for 23% of the total catch, followed by the bucktooth
parrotfish, Sparisoma radians (19% of total fish caught). At Robin Bay, 322 fishes representing
24 species and 15 families were caught by traps. The bucktooth parrotfish, S. radians, accounted
for 53% of the total catch followed by the spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus (14% of
total fish caught). At Great Pond Bay, 59 fishes representing 15 species and 11 families were
caught by trap. The doctorfish, A. chirurgus, accounted for 19% of the catch, followed by the
squirrelfish Holocentrus unknown (17% of the total fish caught).

The monthly mean catch per trap-day (for all embayments) ranged from 0.10 to 9.5 fish per trap-
day (Figure 1 la). Turner Hole Bay catch per trap-day peaked in September 2001, while that in
Robin Bay peaked in July 2001 (see Figure 1 la). However, there was no a distinct catch rate
peak for Great Pond Bay. There were significant differences in the number of fish caught per
trap-haul between embayments pooled by month (Appendix B, numbers 13, p<0.05). Turner
Hole Bay and Robin Bay had significantly higher numbers of fish caught per trap-haul than
Great Pond Bay.

Monthly number of species caught per trap-day (for all embayments) is presented in Figure 1 lb.
There were no distinct peaks in number of species caught per trap-day for any of the






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 11
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

embayments, nor were there significant differences in number of species caught per trap-haul
between embayments pooled by month (Appendix B, number 14, p>0.05).

In all three embayments, the fish species caught most frequently by traps were H. flavolineatum,
S. radians, P. maculatus and A. chirurgus (Table 6). French grunt, H. flavolineatum, catch per
trap-day (pooled by month) did not show any clear trends among embayments (see Figure 12a).
S. radians catch per trap-day was highest in Turner Hole Bay and Robin Bay in September 2001
(Figure 12b). Monthly catch per trap-day for S. radians in Great Pond Bay did not showed any
peak. Monthly catch per trap-day of P. maculatus peaked in July 2001 in Robin Bay but there
were no distinct peaks from the other embayments (Figure 12c). In Turner Hole Bay, A.
chirurgus catches showed a distinct peak in October 2000, but no peak was evident for the other
two embayments (see Figure 12d).

Analyses of length frequency distributions of H. flavolineatum, S. radians, P. maculatus and A.
chirurgus show that trap sampling caught small fish (Figures 13 to 16). Aside from S. radians,
which is a small species of parrotfish (no reproductive info available), the majority of trapped
fish were juveniles. For reference, mean fish sizes at sexual maturity (length at which 50 percent
of the population become mature for the first time) are noted in each of these figures. These
results indicate that, in general, fish trapped were smaller than their mean size at sexual maturity
(Billings and Munro 1974; Munro 1983; and Reeson 1983).

There were no significant differences in catch per trap-haul between embayments for H.
flavolineatum, A. chirurgus, and P. maculatus (Appendix B, numbers 15 to 17, p>0.05).
However, Turner Hole Bay and Robin Bay had a significantly higher mean number of S. radians
caught per trap-day than Great Pond Bay (Appendix B, number 18, p<0.05, also see Figure 12b).

Monthly changes in length (size class) frequency distribution of key fish species were not
compared here because of the small number of fish caught each month.


Beach Seine In Turner Hole Bay, 77 fishes were caught by seine net representing 14 species
and 8 families (Table 7). The permit, Trachinotusfalcatus, accounted for 16% of Turner Hole
seine catches. In Robin Bay, 322 fishes were caught representing 18 species and 13 families.
The false pilchard Harengula humeralis, accounted for 23% of the catches in Robin Bay. At
Great Pond Bay, 279 fishes representing 27 species and 14 families were caught. The slender
mojarra, Eucinostomusjonesi, accounted for 36% of the catch (Table 7).

Mean monthly variations in fish caught per seine-haul for the three bays ranged from 0 to 54
fish/seine-haul (Figure 17a). In Robin Bay, catch per unit effort (CPUE) was highest in October
2000 (54 fishes per seine-haul).

Mean monthly variations in species caught per seine-haul varied from 0 to 6 species per seine-
haul (see Figure 17b). For mean monthly number of species per haul the largest peak was in
February and May 2001 in Great Pond Bay (see Figure 17b).






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 12
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

There were significant differences in the number of fish and number of species caught per seine-
haul between embayments (Appendix B, numbers 19 and 20, p>0.05). Great Pond had a
significantly higher (1) number of fish caught per seine haul, and (2) number of species caught
per seine haul, than Turner Hole. However there were no significant differences in number of
fish caught per seine haul, or number of species caught per seine-haul between Great Pond Bay
and Robin Bay (Appendix B, numbers 19 and 20, p>0.05).

In all three embayments, three of the most abundant species caught by beach seine were Caranx
latus, T falcatus and E. jonesi (Table 7). In Robin Bay, C. latus had a major peak in January
2001 (Figure 18a). In Great Pond Bay, E. jonesi catch per seine-haul peaked in March 2001 (see
Figure 18b). For T. falcatus, catch per seine-haul was highest in October 2000 in Great Pond
Bay (Figure 18c).

Length-frequency distributions of C. latus, T. falcatus and E. jonesi from seine hauls for all
embayments are presented in Figures 19a to i. For reference, mean fish sizes at sexual maturity
are noted in each of these figures. Results here indicate that fish caught by seine-haul were
smaller than their mean size at sexual maturity (Thompson and Munro 1974; Garcia-Cagide et al
1994)

There was no significant difference in the number fish caught per seine-haul between
embayments for C. latus, and T falcatus, based on pooled seine-haul, monthly, and embayment
data (Appendix B, numbers 21 to 22, p>0.05). However, Great Pond Bay had a significantly
higher mean number of E. jonesi caught per seine haul than Turner Hole Bay (Appendix B,
number 23, p<0.05)


DISCUSSION

The fish communities of the back barrier reef lagoons in the southeast of St. Croix have some
components in common with other tropical lagoon systems studied in the Caribbean. Studies
done on lagoons close to reef ecosystems showed distinct reef fish communities dominated by
scarids, haemulids, and labrids (see Rooker and Dennis 1991; Adams and Tobias 1999;
Sedberry and Cartier 1993; Mackey 1999 and Nagelkerken et al 2000). Fish assemblages in
mangrove lagoons adjacent to reefs in Puerto Rico and St Croix were mainly composed of
members of the families Lutjanidae and Haemulids such as Lutjanus apodus and Hamulon
flavolineatum (see Rooker and Dennis 1991; and Adams and Tobias 1999). Sedberry and
Cartier (1993) found that Haemulids such as H. sciurus and H. flavolineatum dominated the
species composition in a survey of fish communities in barrier reef lagoons in Belize. In a
Tortola study (Mackey 1999), juvenile fish assemblages on barrier reef lagoons were dominated
by H. aurolineatum and H. flavolineatum. In Curacao, Nagelkerken et al (2000) found H.
flavolineatum and S. iserti were the dominant species of reef fish in a barrier reef lagoon.

In the Caribbean region, the influence of coral reef habitats adjacent to mangrove lagoons and
seagrass beds is reflected by greater fish species richness. The exclusive occurrence of several
primary coral reef fish species constitutes an additional factor influencing the structure of






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 13
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

nearshore fish assemblages of tropical lagoons (see Robblee and Zieman 1984; Gladfelter and
Gladfelter 1978; and Nagelkerken et al 2000). Previous studies (Ogden and Zieman 1977;
Robblee and Zieman 1984; Shulman 1984; and Robblee 1987) on the foraging behavior of coral
reef fishes over seagrass beds suggest that many reef fishes do not seem to recognize seagrass
beds, patch reefs, and algal plains as distinct habitats but apparently perceive them as a spatial
continuum. Nevertheless, they may partition this continuum temporally by taking shelter on the
reefs during the day and foraging on seagrass beds at night (Ogden and Zieman 1977; Robblee
and Zieman 1984; Shulman 1984; and Robblee 1987).

In this study the fish assemblages of the three southeast St. Croix embayments showed strong
similarities with each other. Dominant among the fish in all the three embayments were newly
settled grunts Haemulon unk., H. flavolineatum Halichoere bivittatus, and Sparisoma radians.
Turner Hole Bay supported the greatest species diversity with 66 species, whereas Robin Bay
had only 41 species (see Table 1). H. flavolineatum, H. bivittatus and Haemulon unknown,
accounted for >66% of all fishes observed by divers in the visual strip transect census. The more
abundant fish species found in this study were primarily herbivores and planktivores (Table 1).
Some of these dominant species, such as members of the family Haemulidae (H. flavolineatum
and newly settled grunts of the genus Haemulon), are recreationally and commercially important
to the local nearshore fishery (Tobias 2000a; and Mateo 2000).

Most fish (95%) inhabiting the backreef lagoon areas (Turner Hole Bay, Robin Bay, and Great
Pond Bay) were small (<10 cm TL) and very few (5%) larger fish (>10 cm TL) were observed.
These findings suggest that backreef lagoon areas of southeast St. Croix play an important role as
nursery grounds for economically important species in the early stages of their life cycle.

Previous studies on tropical reef lagoons in the Caribbean have shown the importance of these
habitats for juvenile reef fishes (Ogden and Zieman 1977; Robblee and Zieman 1984; Shulman
1984; McFarland et al 1985; Shulman and Ogden 1987; and Sedberry and Carter 1993; Mackey
1999 and Nagelkerken et al 2000). Different habitats comprising a reef lagoon system provide
heterogeneity in habitat structure that may modify the outcome of biological interactions such as
competition and predation (Shulman 1985; and Robblee 1987). These heterogeneous
environments may also promote diversity by enhancing recruitment to and maintenance of
juvenile fish populations which have requirements for multiple resources (Shulman 1984 and
1985; and Shulman and Ogden 1987).

Parrish (1989) suggested that coastal habitats may intercept large numbers of recruits and may
offer some advantages over coral reefs for early survival for settling fish post larvae and
developing juveniles. Since many reef ecosystems are of very limited area, they are not
favorably situated to receive abundant recruits. Although coral reefs are important habitat for
many fish species, they may represent a difficult target for settling planktonic fish larvae due to
their small surface area. A strategy of settling nearby in suitable nursery habitats and migrating
to the reef later as an adult would be seem very adaptive for newly settling fish (Parrish 1989).
Those nursery habitats would insure an adequate supply of recruits (migrants) to the reef
populations.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 14
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

Non-reef lagoonal habitats (such as seagrass beds, algal plains, and mangroves systems) may
serve as accumulators of recruits since these habitats are often extensive and more continuous
than reef habitats (Parrish 1989). These areas are often close to the shore where arriving larvae
are more likely to be retained due to their large area and low wave impact. As a result, such areas
may effectively intercept and maintain planktonic fish larvae that do not encounter suitable reef
habitat for settlement. These alternative nursery habitats may offer improved larval fish
settlement survival compared to settlement directly onto reefs (Parrish 1989).

Three factors have been cited as contributing to the increased survival of reef fish recruits on
lagoonal habitats: (1) reduced predation intensity (Shulman and Ogden 1987; Sedberry and
Cartier 1993; and Nagelkerken et al 2000); (2) increased space availability for settlement of
recruits (Shulman 1984; Shulman and Ogden 1987; and Eggleston 1995); and (3) differences in
productivity and food availability (Robblee 1987; and Corcheret et al, in press).

Several studies have demonstrated that there is generally a lower density of adult fish in coastal
lagoons, and thus piscivory should be absent or greatly reduced in these areas (Shulman and
Ogden 1987; Sedberry and Cartier 1993; and Nagelkerken et al 2000). Studies done in barrier
reef lagoons in the Caribbean show that recruitment and juvenile reef fish abundance are higher
with increased distance from the main reef (Shulman and Ogden 1987; Sedberry and Cartier
1993; and Nagelkerken et al 2000). According to Shulman and Ogden (1987), post settlement
mortality and recruitment of newly settled H. flavolineatum on Teague Bay had an inverse
relationship with increasing distance from the reef. They attributed this to a gradient in predation
intensity decreasing with distances very far away from the reefs.

Coastal lagoonal habitats such as seagrass beds and algal plains have been shown to provide
protective concealment for newly settling fishes (Shulman 1984; Shulman and Ogden 1987; and
Eggleston 1995). Coastal areas where there are high macroalgae cover and high density of
seagrass shoots may decrease the foraging efficiency of potential predators (Shulman 1984;
Shulman and Ogden 1987; and Eggleston 1995). Also increased productivity of detrivorous
benthic and planktonic prey organisms, important food for juvenile fishes found on seagrass beds
and algal plains, probably results in increased juvenile fish biomass and species richness in
lagoonal habitats relative to other habitats (Robblee 1987; and Corcheret et al, in press).

At the embayments studied here, fish species formed communities within seagrass, sand, patch
reefs, algal plains and rubble habitats. The seagrass and algal plain habitats at all embayments
were dominated by small resident fish such as Halichoeres spp., S. radians and juveniles of non-
resident, economically important species such as Haemulon unknown and Ocyurus chrysurus.
Patch reef and rubble habitats harbored a higher number of species per unit area and were mostly
dominated by small juvenile damselfish, parrotfish, grunts, and doctorfish.

The differences in fish size distributions observed between habitats suggests that different habitat
preferences by certain sizes of fish. Many local economically important coral reef fish (such as
S. iserti, Acanthurus chirurgus, and A. bahianus) recruits were found on patch reefs and rubble
habitats. Species such as newly settled grunts Haemulon unknown and 0. chrysurus recruits






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 15
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

were mostly found in seagrass beds and algal plains (Tables 5). This suggests a preference for
certain habitats by recruits of these fish species.

Densities of larger (>10 cm TL) fish (S. viride, S. iserti, L. mahogoni, and 0. chrysurus) were
low on patch reefs and seagrass beds (Table 5). This suggests that seagrass beds and/or patch
reefs that are preferred by recruits of certain fish species may become less suitable as those fish
grow larger (>10 cm TL). This appears to be the case for L. mahogoni, 0. chrysurus, S. viride
and S. iserti.

Ontogenetic changes in diet and competitive interactions have been reported for coral reef fishes
(Shulman and Ogden 1987; Nagelkerken et al 2000; and Cocheret et al, in press). Changes in
habitat use might be expected to coincide with such size-related changes in individual fitness or
physiological requirements (Appeldoorn et al 1997; and Lindeman and Snyder 1999). For
example, some reef fish such as snappers, grunts and parrotfishes change microhabitats with size
(Appeldoorn et al 1997; Lindeman and Snyder 1999; and Adams and Ebersole, in press).
Species such as the yellowtail snapper 0. chrysurus and newly settled grunts of the species H.
flavolineatum and H. plumieri settle onto seagrass beds and algal plains and migrate to nearby
reefs at larger sizes (Shulman and Ogden 1987; Baelde 1990; Appeldoorn et al 1997; and
Lindeman and Snyder 1999). Habitat utilization by parrotfishes, such as S. iserti and S. viride,
is determined by the distribution of their primary food sources (Clifton 1991; and Tolimieri
1998). Juveniles of these species utilize shallow areas of mixed coral rubble areas and patch
reefs. As their foraging efficiency and home range increase along with their body growth, these
nursery habitats can no longer provide adequate shelter and food sources. Individuals of these
species must migrate to deeper habitats such as fore-reef and mid-shelf reef habitats to meet their
ecological requirements (Clifton 1991; and Tolimieri 1998).

The present study suggests that nursery habitats are not limited to seagrass and mangrove
habitats, but include other nearshore habitats such as patch reefs and rubble areas. In this study,
patch reefs and rubble habitats had the highest densities and greatest diversity of fish recruits.
Recent Caribbean studies of nearshore fish assemblages suggest that patch reefs and rubble areas
appear to be important shelter sites for juvenile fishes in mangrove and seagrass dominated
lagoons (Risk 1997; Nagelkerken et al 2000; and Adams and Ebersole, in press). However, total
counts of fish recruits were higher on seagrass beds and algal plains. This was because of the
dominance of these habitats in embayments surveyed (Table 2).

Fishing activities may have substantial effects on target species' populations and the ecosystems
that they inhabit may decline (Appeldoorn et al 1992). Excess removal of larger, older and more
fecund individuals from a population depletes spawning stocks, thus reducing a population's
ability to replenish itself. Potential ecosystem impacts include changes in community structure
and food chains. Removing a dominant species, for example, may allow competing or prey
species to increase, or cause predator populations dependent on the harvested species to decline
(Appeldoorn et al 1992).

In parts of the Caribbean, this process appears to have led to major changes in reef composition,
particularly near Jamaica (Hughes 1994). Widespread overfishing in the region over many






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 16
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

decades has led to very low levels of herbivorous fish, which normally play an important part in
keeping algae from overgrowing reefs (Hughes 1994). In the absence of herbivorous fish, the
role of keeping algae levels in check fell to a species of grazing sea urchin Diadema antillarum
(Hughes 1994). When an epidemic nearly wiped out D. antillarum on Jamaican reefs in the early
1980s, algae quickly overgrew and killed a vast amount of corals (Hughes 1994).

An analogous situation may exist in the embayments of southeast St. Croix. Historically, the
coastal areas of St Croix have been used as fishing grounds by commercial and recreational
fishers (William Tobias USVI Division of Fish and Wildlife personal communication). Creel
surveys of recreational fishing activities have found that most of the fish caught from the
coastline are of relatively small size (USVI Recreational Fisheries Assessment Study F-8:
unpublished data). Throughout the course of this study, commercial fish pots and spearfishing
activities were observed within these embayments and illegal fishing activities (such as traps
without escape panels and unattended gill nets) were also evident. Although it was not
quantified, patch reefs and fore-reefs in the southeastern barrier bank system appeared to have a
high cover of macroalgae due to the low number of herbivorous fish and sea urchins (author,
personal observation). At present it is unclear whether the high algal cover is related to levels of
fishing (past or present) in these embayments.

Seasonal fluctuations in the density of fishes and the number of species per area in southeast St.
Croix embayments were observed in most cases with peaks in late summer and lows in winter
(Figures 3a and b, and 7a to 10b). These seasonal variations may be related to the reported
correlation between increased larvae/juvenile fish settlement and recruitment and summer
increases in the number of species and fish present (Williams and Sale 1981; and Doherty and
Williams 1988). Many fish species spawn during the spring which coincides with the influx of
post larvae and juveniles into estuarine areas in late spring and summer (Williams and Sale 1981;
and Doherty and Williams 1988). In this study, summer recruitment pulses were evident for
some species such as Haemulon unknown and S. radians, although the magnitude of these pulses
varied between embayments (Figure 7b).

There have been few studies documenting the fish fauna of the southeast coast of St. Croix
(Caselle and Warner 1996; Tobias 2001; and Adams and Ebersole, in press). Tobias (2001)
reported on a fish survey done in the mangrove lagoon of Great Pond, where the fish assemblage
was dominated by Lutjanids (L. apodus and L. griseus) and Gerreids (Gerres cinereus,and
Eucinostomusjonesi). Tobias (2001) also found that species diversity and abundance of reef
fishes were lower than observed in Salt River Bay and Altona Lagoon mangrove ecosystems (see
also Adams and Tobias 1999). Tobias (2001) suggested that Great Pond has a lower species
richness compared to other mangroves systems in St Croix because Great Pond has a shallower
depth, restricted seawater exchange and fresh water input. Larval supply may also be reduced by
the limited volume of water entering the pond through the entrance channel (Tobias 2001).
Alternatively, the buildup of mud from terrestrial runoff (up to 30 cm in depth) may impact
benthic community development, thereby reducing the quality of habitat available to juvenile
fishes (Tobias 2001).






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 17
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

Studies addressing reef fish recruitment on the southeast coast of St. Croix have had contrasting
results (Caselle and Warner 1996; Adams and Ebersole, in press). Caselle and Warner (1996)
studied the spatial and temporal variability in fish recruitment in St. Croix at sites spaced equally
around the Island. They found a distinct pattern of reef distribution for the southshore of St
Croix. On the south leeward side, fish recruitment rates increased from west to east. They also
found that recruitment rates for T. bifasciatum and other species were higher during the fall in
the south shore. They concluded that physical oceanographic processes appeared to be
responsible for patterns of recruitment on the south shore of St Croix. Despite consistent
patterns of recruitment to sites in the south shore of St Croix, habitat selection did not appear to
be important at the scale investigated (Caselle and Warner 1996).

Adams and Ebersole (in press) examined the spatial distribution of some abundant reef fish in
the back reef lagoons in St Croix to determine the relative importance of oceanographic and
benthic process on recruitment of coral reef fishes. Results of their study indicated little
influence of oceanographic process in distribution of fish recruits among sites but did reveal
consistent fish preferences of certain habitats among sites. Lagoonal habitats such as patch reefs
and rubble were the most heavily utilized nursery habitats by newly settled grunts, doctorfishes
and wrassess, and damselfishes. Species such as Acanthurus spp. and Haemulon spp. exhibited
ontogenetic habitat shifts and densities of large fishes of these species were strongly related to
the quality of lagoon nursery habitats. Our findings suggest that factors such as availability of
suitable habitat can be very important in structuring fish communities in tropical lagoons.

In this study we did not find an east to west gradient in densities of post-settlement fishes in any
of the habitats at the sites surveyed (Table 3). Turner Hole had a greater species diversity than
the other bays. However this may be related to habitat composition, Turner Hole is more
heterogeneous than the other embayments (Figure 2). Nevertheless the differences in abundance
of fish recruits between habitats among bays suggests that apparently some species have
preferences over certain types of habitats. Abundance of certain species such as A chirurgus, A.
bahianus, S. iserti, E. guttatus, and T. bifasciatum at Turner Hole may be related to the higher
amount of substrate cover of their preferred habitats such as rubble and patch reefs (Nagelkerken
et al 2000; and Adams and Ebersole, in press) over other embayments. In contrast, newly
settled grunts Haemulon unk and the rozy razor fish, Hemipteronotus martinicensis, were more
frequently observed on Great Pond Bay than any other embayment. This may be related to the
higher amount of substrate cover of algal plains and sand over other embayments. Algal Beds
are known to be settlement areas for juvenile grunts (Ogden and Zieman 1977; Robble and
Zieman 1984; Shulman 1984; and Shulman and Ogden 1987) whereas the rozy razorfish is
typically found on sandy bottoms (Nagelkerken et al 2000; and Mateo 2001).

The three methods used to sample nearshore habitats yield satisfactory although somewhat
contrasting results due to biases inherent in each method (Boulon 1992). Fish traps tended to
under represent certain species (such as H. bivittatus) that apparently avoided traps or were small
enough to pass through the trap mesh and not to be caught (Mackey 1999). However, traps
allowed accurate total length measurements of the most abundant species. In this study baitfish
such as the false pilchard, small permits and slender mojarras were more abundant in seine net
catches than in transects and fish traps. However, seines were limited to areas adjacent to the






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 18
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001

shore without rocky and hard bottom substrates. The visual census method can provide a list of
species in an area. It is possible to collect some length frequency information based on visual
estimates of fish size. However, visual estimates are not as accurate as actually measuring each
fish. Nevertheless, by utilizing these three methods at the same time, a more complete view of
the finfish community can be achieved than from any one method alone. Results here document
the importance of these nearshore habitats for juvenile fishes. Most fish sampled by trap and
beach seine nets were smaller in size then their mean size at sexual maturity (for trap catches see
Figures 13 to 16, for beach seine catches see Figures 19a to i).

The fish species composition of the three embayments were also similar to the one found for
northeast coast embayments of St Croix embayments previously surveyed by USVI Division of
Fish and Wildlife (Mateo 2001; and Mateo and Tobias 2001). Both studies had similar dominant
species within all different methods (visual census: H.bivittaus, S.radians, Haemulon unknown;
fish traps: S. radians, H. flavolineatum, P. maculatus; seine nets: C. latus, T. falcatus and E.
jonesi). However, the northeast embayments had a higher number of fish and species per
transect than the southeast coast embayments. They also had greater species richness. Trap
catch rates were higher in the northeast coast than in the southeast embayments. Northeast trap
catches also had higher species diversity than that in southeast embayments.

Overall this study showed that the role of lagoonal habitats of the southeast bank barrier reef
system as nursery grounds differs between habitats and it is very much influenced by the distinct
patterns of reef fish habitat utilization. Patch reefs and rubble areas harbored the highest
densities of juvenile and adult economically important fishes, presumably as a result of their high
structurally complexity, which provide protection against predation (Sedberry and Cartier 1993,
Nagelkerken et al 2000; and Adams and Ebersole, in press). Meanwhile seagrass beds, the most
dominant habitat within the lagoon, was characterized by low fish abundance and species
diversity and contained very few commercial species such as yellowtail snapper recruits (0.
chrysurus) and newly settled grunts (Haemulon unknown).

Several studies have shown that fish species richness and abundance on tropical lagoons can be
enhanced throughout habitat connectivity between other marine ecosystems (Dennis 1992;
Sedberry and Cartier 1993; Mackey 1999; and Nagelkerken et al 2000). Economically important
reef fish such as snappers, grunts, and parrotfishes are more abundant in the lagoonal habitats of
Belize, Tortola and Curacao than St Croix because of the presence of nearby mangrove habitats
within their seagrass bed-coral reef complex (Sedberry and Cartier 1993; Mackey 1999; and
Nagelkerken et al 2000). The bank barrier reef lagoons of east end of St. Croix do not have an
extensive mangrove ecosystem nearby except for a small area in Great Pond (Tobias 2001). In
addition, the seagrass meadows that cover most of portion of the St. Croix north and south east
End bankbarrier reef lagoons have narrower and shorter Thalassia testudinum seagrass blades
than other areas in the Caribbean (John Ogden, personal communication). Therefore, they
provide a relatively low degree of shelter for economically important reef fishes.

Based on trap and seine net catches in this study (see Table 6), backreef lagoons appeared to be a
key foraging grounds for economically important species and also serve as a nursery grounds for
juvenile fish. Species caught in traps such as squirrelfishes, grunts, goatfishes and snappers are






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 19
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


known to forage on seagrass beds at night for feeding while they rest during the day over the reef
(Ogden and Zieman 1977; Robble 1987; and Cocheret et al, in press).

These findings have important consequences for the management and conservation of tropical
resources. Overexploitation of coastal resources through intense fishing pressure and coastal
development are presently the main threats facing coral reefs in the US Caribbean (Appledoorn
et al 1992). In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, coastal development for tourism projects
has caused extensive loss and fragmentation of fringing coastal habitats (Hernandez and Sabat
2000; and Nemeth and Nowlis 2001).

Marine protected areas have been shown to be useful tools for fisheries management and the
conservation of marine biodiversity (Appledoon et al 1997; and Roberts 1997). No take zones
will be most effective when they are connected by larval supply from other areas (Roberts 1997).
Depending on the area downstream and local retention processes, marine protected areas may
predominately act as sources or sinks for pelagic larvae (Roberts 1997). It is possible that
mangroves, seagrass beds and backreef lagoons may function as both important sinks for
presettlement fishes as well as sources of juveniles and subadults to nearby coral reefs. Risk
(1997) found that A. bahianus larvae consistently settled in backreef lagoon habitats at Teague
Bay St Croix in preference to fore reefs. This indicated habitat selection by presettlement larvae.
Nagelkerken et al (2000) showed similar preferences and ontogenetic habitat shifts for the most
common reef fishes from the families Acanthuridae, Lutjanidae, Haemulidae and Scaridae in
Curacao. Therefore, marine protected areas should incorporate areas of seagrass, mangrove and
backreef lagoon habitats in order to provide adequate settlement habitats for fish larvae and
sources of recruitment to coral reefs if protected areas are to be effective.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank W.J. Tobias, W. Ventura, H. Rivera, and K. Barnes for their logistical support provided
during the field survey. This study was funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aid
Grant, F-7 under the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act.

An earlier draft of this report was reviewed by Dr. Wes Toller, Dr. Roger Uwate, and Dr.
Barbara Kojis. Assistance in editing was provided by Shenell Gordon.


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Adams, A. and Tobias, W.J. 1999. Red mangrove prop-root habitat as a finfish nursery area: a
case study of Salt River Bay, St. Croix, U.S.V.I. Proc. Gulf Carib. Fish. Inst. 46:22-46.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 20
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


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and W. Tobias. 1992. Shallow Water Reef Fish Stock Assessment for the U.S. Caribbean.
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Appeldoorn, R.S., C.W. Recksieck, R.L. Hill, F.E. Pagan, and G.D. Dennis. 1997. Marine
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Baelde, P. 1990. Differences in the structures of fish assemblages in Thalassia testudinum beds
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Billings, V.C. and J.L. Munro. 1974. The biology, ecology, exploitation and management of
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Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 21
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001



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Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 22
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001



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Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 23
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


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Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 1. Total Number of Fish and Species Observed, and Percentage (Number of a Fish
Species Observed/Total Number of Fish Observed in an Embayment) for Each Southeast St.
Croix Embayment from July 2000 and September 2001 Based on Pooled Monthly and Transect
Site Data. Number of Transects per Embayment: Turner Hole=130, Robin Bay=110, Great
Pond=110.
Turner Hole Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
Bay
FAMILY SPECIES No. of Percent No. of Percent No. of Percent
Fish Fish Fish


Acanthuridae



Apogonidae
Aulostomidae
Balistidae

Bothidae
Carangidae

Chaetodontidae

Diodontidae
Gerreidae
Gobiidae



Haemulidae




Pomacanthidae
Holocentridae

Labridae


Acantharus bahianus
Acanthurus chirurgus
Acanthurus coeruleus
Apogon unk.
Aulostomus maculatus
Balistes vetula
Canthidermis sufflamen
Bothus lunatus
Caranx crysos
Caranx ruber
Chaetodon capistratus
Chaetodon striatus
Diodon hystrix
Gerres cinereus
Coryphopterus
glaucofraenum
Gobiosoma unk.
Haemulon unk.
Haemulon carbonarium
Haemulon flavolineatum
Haemulon plumieri
Holocanthus ciliaris
Holocentrus adscensionis
Myripristis jacobus
Doratonotus megalepsis
Bodianus rufus
Halichoeres unk.
Halichoeres bivittatus
Halichoeres garnoti
Halichoeres poeyi
Halichoeres radiatus


238
360
19
1
2
2
*
2
7
9
5
9
*
1
2


*
1278
*
446
94
2
60
22
*
*
*
574
10
42
2


4.86
7.36
0.39
0.02
0.04
0.04
*
0.04
0.14
0.18
0.10
0.18
*
0.02
0.04

*
26.12
*
9.12
1.92
0.04
1.23
0.45
*
*
*
11.73
0.20
0.86
0.04


65
185
7
1
*
2
1
*
*
2
4
7
*
1
*


1
2450
*
283
4
1
5
1
1
*
*
357
10
10
*


1.46
4.14
0.16
0.02
*
0.04
0.02
*
*
0.04
0.09
0.16
0.02

0.02
*


0.02
54.88
*
6.34
0.09
0.02
0.11
0.02
0.02
*
*
8
0.22
0.22
*


41
75
16
2
*
1
*
*
4
29
8
1
1
*
28

*
3495
8
477
18
11
5
*
*
1
2
351
*
3
*


0.77
1.41
0.30
0.04
*
0.02
*
*
0.08
0.55
0.15
0.02
0.02
*
0.53

*
66.13
0.15
8.98
0.34
0.21
0.21
*
*
0.02
0.04
6.61
0.06
0.06
*






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 1 (continued). Total Number of Fish and Species Observed, and Percentage (Number of
a Fish Species Observed/Total Number of Fish Observed in an Embayment) for Each Northeast
St. Croix Embayment from July 2000 and September 2001 Based on Pooled Monthly and
Transect Site Data. Number of Transects per Embayment: Turner Hole=130, Robin Bay=110,
Great Pond= 110
Turner Hole Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
Bay
FAMILY SPECIES No. of Percent No. of Percent No. of Percent
Fish Fish Fish


Labridae


Lutjanidae




Monacanthidae
Malacanthidae
Mullidae

Ostraciidae
Paralichthydae
Pomacanthidae
Pomacentridae










Scaridae






Sciaenidae
Scombridae
Serranidae


Hemipteronotus
martinicensis
Hemipteronotus splendens
Thalassoma bifasciatum
Lutjanus mahogoni
Lutjanus analis
Lutjanus synagris
Ocyurus chrysurus
Monacanthus ciliatus
Malacanthus plumieri
3 hfll,4hii i/ -/ martinicus
Pseudupeneus maculatus
Lactophrys triqueter
Pai 11i//L h/1/ tropics
Pomacanthus paru
Abudefdufsaxatilis
Chromis cyanea
Chromis multilineata
Microspathodon chrysurus
Stegastesfuscus
Stegastes leucostictus
Stegastes partitus
Stegastes planifrons
Stegastes variabilis
Cryptotomus roseus
Scarus iserti
Sparisoma aurofrenatum
Sparisoma radians
Sparisoma viride
Sparisoma chrysopterum
Equetus acuminatus
Scomberomorus regalis
Epinephelus uuttatus


7 0.14 14


2
441
31
2
1
74
5
6
2
22
1
3
2
8
3
12
10
32
280
100
4
1
8
133
29
319
36
25
9
1
29


0.04
9.01
0.63
0.04
0.02
1.51
0.10
0.12
0.04
0.45
0.02
0.06
0.04
0.16
0.06
0.25
0.20
0.65
5.72
2.04
0.08
0.02
0.16
2.72
0.59
6.52
0.74
0.51
0.18
0.02
0.59


2
49
91
*
*
17
10
*
*
68
1
*
*
*
*
*
16
16
125
56
4
10
104
104
1
471
11

*
*
*
5


0.31 172


0.04
1.10
2.04
*
*
0.38
0.22
*
*
1.52
0.02







0.36
2.80
2.04
0.09

0.22
2.33
0.02
10.55
0.25




0.11
*
*
*
*
*
*
0.36
2.80
2.04
0.09
*
0.22
2.33
0.02
10.55
0.25
*
*
*
0.11


3.24

0.08
0.70
0.15
*
0.08
0.62
0.08
*
0.06
0.06








0.21
1.43
0.60
0.06







0.26
1.13
1.81

1.66
0.41

0.04

0.04
*
*
*
*
*
*
0.21
1.43
0.60
0.04
0.26
1.13
1.81
*
1.66
0.41
*
0.04
*
0.04






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 26
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 1 (continued). Total Number of Fish and Species Observed, and Percentage (Number of
a Fish Species Observed/Total Number of Fish Observed in an Embayment) for Each Southeast
St. Croix Embayment from July 2000 and September 2001 Based on Pooled Monthly and
Transect Site Data. Number of Transects per Embayment: Turner Hole=130, Robin Bay=110,
Great Pond= 110
Turner Hole Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
Bay
FAMILY SPECIES No. of Percent No. of Percent No. of Percent
Fish Fish Fish
Serranidae Epinephelusfulvus 17 0.35 5 0.11 *
Hypoplectrus unicolor 2 0.04 *
Serranus tabacarius 1 0.02 *
Serranus tigrinus 2 0.04 1 0.02 3 0.06
Sparidae Calamus bajonado 2 0.04 *
Sphyraenidae Sphyraena barracuda 3 0.06 *
Sygnathidae Cosmocampus elucens 1 0.02 1 0.02 *
Synodontidae Synodusfoetens 1 0.02
Tetradontidae Canthigaster rostrata 21 0.43 6 0.13 13 0.24
Sphoeroides spengleri 23 0.47 7 0.16 26 0.49
Total Number of Fish 4893 4464 5314
Total Number of Species 66 41 47

Mean (Standard Error) Community Parameters of fish censused with visual
transects during July 2000 to September 2001. All months were pooled.
Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
No. of fish/ 00m2 18.6 (2.02) 20.5 (3.7) 23.7 (2.7)
No of species/ 00m2 2.87 (0.2) 1.99 (0.18) 1.98 (0.17)
Diversity Index (H') 0.92 (0.04) 0.62 (0.04) 0.50 (0.04)
Evenness (J') 0.82 (0.01) 0.80 (0.02) 0.75 (0.02)
*none observed






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 2. Number of Fish Observed and Number of Fish Densities By Size Groups and By
Habitat Based on Pooled Monthly, Transect Site, and Southeast St. Croix Embayment Data (July
2000 to September 2001).


Habitat
Habitat Area* Cover


No. of
Species


No. of Fish Observed
(Mean No. Fish/100 m2)


Density
Fish / Species


(m") (%) Observed <5 cm 5-10 cm >10 cm Total 100m" /100m'
Seagrass 43759 62.51 46 3526(8.05) 806(1.84) 198(0.45) 4530 10.3 0.1
Algal 5770 8.24 35 4543 (78.7) 123 (2.13) 6(0.10) 4672 80.9 0.6
Plain
Patch 790 1.13 62 2143 (271.2) 796 (100.5) 348(44.05) 3287 416.5 2.2
Reef
Sand 18416 26.31 15 294(1.59) 85(0.46) 56(0.30) 435 2.36 0.5
Rubble 1265 1.81 39 1454(114.9) 242(19.1) 51(4.03) 1747 119.1 9.5
Total 70000 11960 2052 659 14671
*note: Area = Total area of habitat surveyed in transects.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 3. Number of Fish Observed and Fish Densities By Fish Size Groups and Southeast St.
Croix Embayments; Number of Species per 100 m2 by Embayment; and Number of Fish
Observed and Fish Densities by Fish Size Groups by Habitat and Southeast St. Croix
Embayment (July 2000 to September 2001).
Site Bay Survey No. of No. of Fish Observed (Fish/100m2) Species
Size Area(*2) Species /100m2
(*1) (m2) Observed <5 cm 5-10 cm >10 cm Total
(km2)
Turner Hole Bay 0.37 26,000 66 3436 (13.2) 1050 (7.8) 407 (1.56) 4893 (18.8) 0.2
Robin Bay 0.64 22,000 41 3678 (16.7) 639 (6.5) 147 (0.66) 4464 (20.2) 0.2
Great Pond Bay 2.30 22,000 47 4846 (22.01) 363 (7.5) 105 (0.47) 5314 (24.1) 0.2
Total 70,000 11960 (17.1) 2052 (2.9) 659 (0.94) 14671 (20.9)
Habitat Habitat No. of Fish Observed (Fish/100 m2)
Area Surveyed <5 cm 5-10 cm >10 cm Overall
(*3) (*4)
(km2) (m2)
Turner Hole Bay 0.37
Seagrass 0.30 20895 1059 (5.1) 227 (1.1) 130 (0.6) 1416 (6.7)
Algal Plain 0.01 712 487 (68.4) 13 (1.8) 1 (0.1) 501(70.3)
Patch Reef 0.01 473 1176 (248.6) 592(125.1) 225(47.6) 1993 (421.3)
Sand 0.04 3077 55 (1.78) 4 (0.13) 4 (0.13) 63 (2.04)
Rubble 0.01 843 659 (78.2) 214 (25.3) 47 (5.6) 920 (109.1)
Robin Bay 0.64
Seagrass 0.54 18692 1876 (10) 520 (2.78) 52 (0.3) 2448 (13.1)
Algal Plain 0.02 773 622 (80.5) 9(1.2) 0(0) 631(81.6)
Patch Reef 0.01 147 502 (341.5) 75 (51.) 87 (59.2) 664 (451.7)
Sand 0.06 2042 2 (0.1) 8 (0.4) 4 (0.2) 14 (0.7)
Rubble 0.01 346 676 (195.4) 27 (7.8) 4 (1.1) 707 (204.3)
Great Pond Bay 2.30
Seagrass 0.44 4173 591 (14.2) 59 (1.4) 16 (0.4) 666 (15.9)
Algal Plain 0.44 4284 3434 (80.2) 101(0.2) 5(0.1) 3540 (82.5)
Patch Reef 0.02 170 465 (273.5) 129 (75.9) 36 (21.2) 630 (370.6)
Sand 1.38 13297 237 (1.3) 73 (0.4) 48 (0.3) 358 (1.94)
Rubble 0.00 76 119 (156.6) 1(1.31) 0 (0) 120 (157.8)
*notes:
1. Area Estimated using a planimeter.
2. Survey area is the area surveyed by the benthic visual survey within each embayment.
3. Habitat Area = Bay Size estimated using a planimeter x Habitat Percent Cover estimated from benthic visual
transects.
4. Habitat Surveyed is the area of each habitat surveyed by the benthic visual survey within each embayment.


Table 4. Percent Similarity Values Between Habitats Sampled Based on Percent Similarity of
Species Composition and Fish Densities From Pooled Monthly, Transect Site, and Southeast St.
Croix Embayment Data (July 2000 to September 2001).
Seagrass Patch Reef Algal Plain Sand Rubble


Seagrass 36 67 60 61
Patch Reef 21 15 64
Algal Plain 61 45
Sand 40
Rubble







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 29
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 5. Number of Fish per Size Group and Fish Densities of 18 Economically Important
Species By Habitat for Southeast St. Croix Embayments, Based on Pooled Monthly, Transect
Site, and Embayment Data between July 2000 and September 2001.
No. of Fish in Each Size Group No. of Fish/100m2
Species Family Acanthuridae
A. bahianus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 69 47 26 142 0 8.7 5.94 3.3 17.9
Rubble 0 96 20 1 117 0 7.58 1.58 0.08 9.24
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 5 0 0 5 0 0.08 0 0 0.08
Seagrass 20 33 0 0 53 0.04 0.07 0 0 0.11
Total 20 203 67 27 317
A. chirurgus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 1 152 119 96 368 0.13 19.2 15.1 12.1 46.6
Rubble 16 92 18 2 128 1.26 7.3 1.4 0.16 10.1
Sand 1 0 0 1 0 0.08 0 0 0.08
Algal Plain 3 3 0 0 6 0.05 0.05 0 0 0.1
Seagrass 19 54 0 0 73 0.04 0.12 0 0 0.16
Total 39 302 137 98 576
A. coeruleus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 29 8 10 6 53 3.67 1.01 1.26 0.75 6.7
Rubble 0 2 1 0 3 0 0.25 0.13 0 0.38
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 29 10 11 6 56
Family Haemulidae
H. carbonarium Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rubble 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 8 0 0 8 0 0.14 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 8 0 0 8
H. flavolineatum Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 277 106 20 403 0 35.1 13.4 2.53 51.
Rubble 0 47 1 0 48 0 3.71 0 0.08 3.8
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 251 294 0 0 545 4.35 5.09 0 0 9.44
Seagrass 32 196 0 0 228 0.07 0.44 0 0 0.51
Total 283 814 107 20 1224
H. plumieri Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 43 30 14 87 0 5.44 3.8 1.77 11.01
Rubble 0 1 1 0 2 0 0.08 0.08 0 0.16
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 16 0 0 16 0 0.28 0 0 0.28
Seagrass 0 20 0 0 20 0 0.04 0 0 0.04
Total 0 167 32 14 125
Haemulon spp. Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 245 5 1 1 252 31.1 0.63 0.13 0.13 31.8
Rubble 552 70 0 0 622 43.6 5.5 0 0 49.2
Sand 239 0 0 0 239 1.3 0 0 0 1.3
Algal Plain 3620 41 0 0 3661 62.7 0.7 0 0 63.4
Seagrass 2355 0 0 3 2358 5.4 0 0 0.01 5.4
Total 7011 116 1 4 7248







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 5 (continued). Number of Fish per Size Group and Fish Densities of 18 Economically
Important Species By Habitat for Southeast St. Croix Embayments, Based on Pooled Monthly,
Transect Site, and Embayment Data between July 2000 and September 2001.
No. of Fish in Each Size Group No. of Fish/100m2


Species Family Lutjanidae
0. chrysurus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 0 12 3 15
Rubble 0 4 1 0 5
Sand 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 24 2 0 26
Seagrass 0 70 9 0 79
Total 0 98 24 3 125
L. mahogoni Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 17 1 2 19
Rubble 0 32 0 0 32
Sand 0 1 0 0 1
Algal Plain 0 17 0 0 17
Seagrass 0 30 1 0 31
Total 0 97 2 2 101
L. synagris Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 0 0 0 0
Rubble 0 0 0 0 0
Sand 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 2 0 0 2
Total 2 2
L. analis Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 0 0 0 0
Rubble 0 0 0 0 0
Sand 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 2 2
Total 0 0 0 2 2
Family Scaridae
S. aurofrenatum Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 22 2 8 32


Rubble
Sand
Algal Plain
Seagrass
Total
S. chrysopterum Habitat
Patch Reef
Rubble
Sand
Algal Plain
Seagrass
Total
S. iserti Habitat
Patch Reef
Rubble
Sand
Algal Plain
Seagrass
Total


<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
0 0 1.5 0.38 1.89
0 0.3 0.1 0 0.41
0 0 0 0 0
0 0.4 0.03 0 0.44
0 0.2 0.02 0 0.18

<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
0 2.15 0.12 0.25 2.41
0 2.52 0 0 2.52
0 0.01 0 0 0.01
0 0.29 0 0 0.29
0 0.07 0 0 0.07

<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0.004 0 0 0.004

<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0.004 0.004


<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
0 2.78 0.25 1.01 4.05


0 0 3 0 3 0 0 0.24 0 0.24
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 22 5 8 35
<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
0 3 4 15 22 0 0.38 0.51 1.89 2.78
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 3 4 15 22
<3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
58 162 8 0 228 7.3 20.51 1.01 0 28.8
10 48 20 0 78 0.8 3.81 1.58 0 6.1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 6 0 0 6 0 0.11 0 0 0.1
4 17 0 0 21 0.01 0.04 0 0 0.05
72 233 28 0 333







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 5 (continued). Number of Fish per Size Group and Fish Densities of 18 Economically
Important Species By Habitat for Southeast St. Croix Embayments, Based on Pooled Monthly,
Transect Site, and Embayment Data between July 2000 and September 2001.
No. of Fish in Each Size Group No. of Fish/100m2
Species Family Scaridae
S. viride Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 27 20 4 51 0 3.4 2.51 0.51 6.41
Rubble 0 14 2 1 17 0 1.1 0.25 0.13 2.15
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 40 22 5 68
Family Serranidae
E.fulvus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 1 8 6 15 0 0.13 1.01 0.76 1.89
Rubble 0 1 1 5 7 0 0.08 0.08 0.4 0.55
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 2 9 11 22
E.cruentatus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0.13 0.13
Rubble 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1
E.guttatus Habitat <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total <3cm <5cm 5-10cm >10cm Total
Patch Reef 0 0 14 16 30 0 0 1.77 2.02 3.79
Rubble 0 0 3 3 6 0 0 0.24 0.24 0.48
Sand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Algal Plain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Seagrass 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 17 19 36







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 32
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 6. Total Number of Fish and Species Caught by Fish Trap and Percentage (Number of a
Fish Species Caught/Total Number of Fish Caught in an Embayment) for Each Southeast St.
Croix Embayment between July and September 2001 Based on Pooled Monthly Data. Number of
trap-days per embayment: Turner Hole=130, Robin Bay =110 Great Pond =110
Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
FAMILY SPECIES No. of Percent No. of Percent No. of Percent
Fish Fish Fish
Acanthuridae Acanthurus chirurgus 105 23.54 19 5.81 13 21.31
Acanthurus bahianus 8 2.45 *
Acanthurus coeruleus 4 0.90 7 2.14 1 1.64
Aulostomidae Aulostomus maculatus 5 1.12 1 0.31 *
Balistidae Balistes vetula 3 0.67 *
Canthidermis .\urttllaen 3 0.92 *
Bothidae Paralichthys spp *
Chaetodontidae Chaetodon capistratus 6 1.35 3 0.92 5 8.20
Chaetodon ocellatus 1 0.31 *
Chaetodon striatus 3 0.67 2 3.28
Haemulidae Haemulon aurolineatum 1 0.22 1 0.31 *
Haemulonflavolineatum 40 8.97 19 5.81 9 14.75
Haemulon chrysargyreum 3 0.67 *
Haemulon plumieri 7 1.57 2 0.61 *
Haemulon striatum 1 0.31 *
Holocentridae Holocentrus unk. 37 8.30 16 4.89 10 16.39
Myripristisjacobus 2 0.45 6 1.83 1 1.64
Labridae Halichoeres bivittatus 4 0.90 1 0.31 *
Halichoeres radiatus 1 0.22 *
Lachnolaimus maximus 1 0.31 1 1.64
Lutjanidae Lutjanus mahogoni 4 0.90 *
Lutjanus apodus 1 0.31 *
Lutjanus synagris 6 9.84
Ocyurus chrysurus 48 10.76 1 1.64
Monacanthidae Monacanthus ciliatus 4 0.90 *
Mullidae Mulloidicthys martinicus 1 0.22 6 1.83 *
Pseudupeneus maculatus 57 12.78 46 14.07 5 8.20
Muraenidae Gymnothorax moringa 8 1.79 4 1.22 *
Ostraciidae Lactophrys triqueter 2 0.61 2 3.28
Paralichthydae Paralichthys spp *
Pomacanthidae Pomacanthus paru 4 0.90 2 3.28
Pomacentridae Stegastes leucostictus 1 0.22 1 0.31 *
Scaridae Sparisoma radians 84 18.83 173 52.91 1 1.64
Serranidae Alphestes afer 4 0.90 2 0.61 *
Epinephelusfulvus 1 0.22 *
Epinephelus guttatus 1 0.22 *
Epinephelus striatus 1 0.22 *
Sciaenidae Equetus acuminatus 1 0.22 *
Sparidae Calamus bajonado 3 0.67 *
Calamus calamus 1 0.22 *







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 6 (continued). Total Number of Fish and Species Caught by Fish Trap and Percentage
(Number of a Fish Species Caught/Total Number of Fish Caught in an Embayment) for Each
Southeast St. Croix Embayment between July and September 2001 Based on Pooled Monthly
Data. Number of trap-days per embayment: Turner Hole=130, Robin Bay =110 Great Pond =110
Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
FAMILY SPECIES No. of Percent No. of Percent No. of Percent
Fish Fish Fish


Tetradontidae


*not caught


Sphoeroides spengleri 2 0.45 3 0.92 2 3.2
Total Number of Fishes 446 327 61
Total Number of Species 31 24 15
Mean (Standard Error) Community Parameters of fish caught with traps during July 2000
to September 2000. All months were pooled.
Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
No. offish/trap-day 1.53 (0.79) 2.30 (0.79) 0.45 (0.22)
No. of species/trap-day 1.00 (0.27) 0.43 (0.12) 0.33 (0.15)


88







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Table 7. Total Number of Fish and Species Caught by Seine Net and Percentage (Number of a
Fish Species Caught/Total Number of Fish Caught in an Embayment) for Each Southeast St.
Croix Embayment (28 seine hauls/embayment) between July 2000 and September 2001 Based
on Pooled Monthly Data.
Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
FAMILY SPECIES No. of Percent No. of Percent No. of Percent
Fish Fish Fish


Acanthuridae Acanthurus bahianus
Acanthurus chirurgus
Acanthurus coeruleus
Carangidae Caranx hippos
Caranx latus
Trachinotus falcatus
Trachinotus goodei
Clupeidae Harengula humeralis
Harengula clupeola
Engraulidae Anchoa unk.
Hypoatherina harringtonensis
Exocoetidae Hemiramphus braciliencis
Gerreidae Gerres cinereus
Eucinostomusjonesi
Haemulidae Haemulon flavolineatum
Haemulon plumieri
Haemulon carbonarium
Anisotremus surinamensis
Haemulon album
Lutjanidae Lutjanus apodus
Lutjanus synagris
Ocyurus chrysurus
Monacanthidae Monacanthus ciliatus
Ostraciidae Lactophrys triqueter
Lactophrys polygonia
Paralichthydae Paralychthys tropics
Polynemidae Polydactylus virginicus
Scaridae Sparisoma radians
Sciaenidae Umbrina coroides
Sphyraenidae Sphyraena barracuda
Tetradontidae Sphoeroides spengleri
Total Number of Fish
Total Number of Species


* 1 0.36


*
*
12.99
16.88
19.48
5.19
*
*
*
*
10.39
6.49
7.79
*
*
*
*
*
3.90
2.60
*
1.30
1.30
1.30
*
7.79

2.60
*
*
2.60


0.31
*
1.24
12.42
16.77
0.31
13.98
35.40
0.31
3.11
1.24
*
6.83
*
*
*
1.24
*
10.39


0.31
*
*

0.31
*

0.31
0.31
3.11
0.31
0.31
*
*


0.36
1.08
*
*
*
0.36
*
*
2.87
4.30
13.98
5.38
21.86
3.58
0.36
0.36
*
0.36
6.09
0.36
3.94
*
0.36
0.36
0.36
3.94
1.08
*
3.23
1.08


Mean (Standard Error) Community Parameters of fish caught with seine nets during July
2000 to September 2001.
Turner Hole Robin Bay Great Pond Bay
Bay
No. of fish/seine haul 2.92 (0.64) 11.42 (3.6) 10.43 (2.4)
No. of species/seine haul 1.13 (0.3) 3.37 (0.28) 0.17 (0.42)
*not caught.







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 35
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001



Figure 1. Location of the three southeast St. Croix (U.S.V.I.) embayments surveyed
(Turner Hole Bay, Robin Bay, and Great Pond Bay)







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001



Figure 2. Substrate Percentage Composition
for Southeast St. Croix Embayments based on
Pooled Month and Transect Site Data (Total
Area of Each Bay Covered on Transects:Turner
Hole =26,000m2, Robin Bay = 22,000m2, Great
Pond = 22,000m2).


90
80
70
60
50
;40
30
20
10
0
Turner Hole Robin Bay
* Seagrass E Patch Reef E Algal Plain


Great Pond Bay
SSand E Rubble


Figure 3a. Mean Monthly Fish Densities For
Each Southeast St. Croix Embayment based on
Pooled Transect Site Data.

90
e80

~60
S50
.40-o /t
30
l202
S10
0 0 0-




Legend: Turner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 3b. Mean Monthly Number of Species for
Each Southeast St. Croix Embayment based on
Pooled Transect Site Data


6
E
5 -

4 -

3 -
t2-
-0---
0)





^ ^ < 0
< C/)


> 0 aa 0) 0
Z L

Legend: Turner Hole Bay *RobinBay
*Great Pond Bay







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 4a. Monthly Shannon Wiener Diversity
Index (H') For Each Southeast St. Croix
Embayment based on Pooled Transect Site Data
1.4
1.2
1.0
0.8
0.6
S0.4
0.2
0.0




Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 4b. Monthly Pielou Evenness Index (J')
For Each Southeast St. Croix Embayment Based
on Pooled Transect Site Data


1.0 -

0.8

0.6-

0.4-
-


4


b o bp o o o o o o o o 0 0 0


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 5a. Mean Fish Densities For Southeast St.
Croix Embayment By Habitat Based on Pooled
Monthly and Transect Site Data
S350

S300


250

, 200
15 150
z -0
4 100-
S50 -

0 --


a


Figure 5b. Mean Number of Species For
Southeast St. Croix Embayments By Habitat
Based on Pooled Monthly and Transect Site Data
45
40 -
35
S30
25
20 -
S15 -
10 I



Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay


Seagrass O Patch Reef E Algal Plain E Sand E Rubble


Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay


* Seagrass O Patch Reef D Algal Plain D Sand D Rubble


c-
r


,I--







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 6a. Shannon Wiener Diversity Indexes
(H') For Southeast St. Croix Embayments By
Habitat Based on Pooled Monthly and Transect
Site Data


Figure 6b. Pielou Evenness Index (J') For
Southeast St. Croix Embayments By Habitat
Based on Pooled Monthly and Transect Site
Data


1.6
1.4
" 1.2
. 1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.0
Turner Hole Bay


Robin Bay Great Pond Bay


Seagrass D Patch Reef D Algal Plain D Sand D Rubble






Figure 7a. Mean Monthly Haemulon
flavolineatum Densities for Southeast St. Croix
Embayments Based on Pooled Transect Site and
Size Group Data.


0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay Great Pond Bay


M Seagrass O Patch Reef E Algal Plain E Sand E Rubble






Figure 7b. Mean Monthly Haemulon
flavolineatum Recruit (< 5 cm TL) Densities for
Southeast St. Croix Embayments Based on Pooled
Transect Site Data.


60

50

S40
o30

E 20

10

0
o o
o o
5
1c


o o
-b 2


o 0
O
2


45
40
35
30
S25
S 220 -
15
S10
z

o 0


o a - -
o a a a a
a~o~ -;
0 0 C,


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 8a. Mean Monthly Halichoeres bivittatus
Densities for Southeast St. Croix Embayments
Based on Pooled Transect Site and Size Group
Data


S'


Figure 8b. Mean Monthly Halichoeres bivittatus
Recruit (<5 cm TL) Densities for Southeast St.
Croix Embayments Based on Pooled Transect Site
Data.


f


**
*


S z i i~
Legend: Turner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay



Figure 9a. Mean Monthly Sparisoma radians
Densities for Southeast St. Croix Embayments
Based on Pooled Transect Site and Size Group
Data


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Legend: Turner Hole Bay *RobinBay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 9b. Mean Monthly Sparisoma radians
Recruit (<5 cm TL) Densities for Southeast St.
Croix Embayments Based on Pooled Transect Site
Data.
40
S35
30
S25
20

10 -
15
z





Legend: iTurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


-u-'i


a-- - -


-At







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 10a. Mean Monthly Haemulon spp.
Densities for Southeast St. Croix Embayments
Based on Pooled Transect Site and Size Group
Data


200

S150

S100

50

c hj


Figure 10b. Mean Monthly Haemulon spp.
Recruit (<5cm TL) Densities for Southeast St.
Croix Embayments Based on Pooled Transect
Site Data


250








50

S100


Legend: Turner Hole Bay
*Great Pond Bay


*Robin Bay


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay
*Great Pond Bay


*Robin Bay


Figure lla. Mean Number of Fish Caught Per
Trap-Day in Southeastern St. Croix
Embayments by Month (Pooled Trap-day
Data)


10
9 6-

7


S4-
4-
- 3
S2
I 1
" 0





44 4
- o /
k //
yYo
bmO


e.0



o -
o ', 0 C


Legend: Turner Hole Bay *RobinBay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure lib. Mean Number of Species Caught
Per Trap-day in Southeast St. Croix
Embayments by Month (Pooled Trap-day
Data).


S3.0
-

5 2.5

S2.0

S1.5

1.0
0
- 0.5
00i.


So o o o o i i i i ,i i i i --
0 o 0 o o o o o o o o o 9 0 0 0



Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


,L~3
4
\I
-r


I


c-A -


r
t

Y


r


i


^ 0 0
., a ~ an
ff ,3 3
g ^ ^ C







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 12a. Monthly Mean Number of
Haemulonflavolineatum Caught Per Trap-Day
for Southeast St. Croix Embayments Based on
Pooled Trap-day Data
7
A 6
5



2 -
Z1*

S----- -------
b bp& + ^ ^ ^ ^ &
^ ^ -t o rt at rt & ^ ^ ^ an


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay
*Great Pond Bay


*Robin Bay


Figure 12b. Monthly Mean Number of
Sparisoma radians Caught Per Trap-Day for
Southeast St. Croix Embayments Based on
Pooled Trap-day Data.
S25

20


15

10

5


S ~ b o o. . O


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 12c. Monthly Mean Number of
Pseudupeneus maculatus Caught Per Trap-Day
for Southeast St. Croix Embayments Based on
Pooled Trap-day Data.
S25

20


15 +


| oS--- ----- -----------



Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 12d. Mean Number of Acanthurus
chirurgus Caught Per Trap-Day for Southeast
St. Croix Embayments Based on Pooled Trap-
day Data.


S14
12
10


8




0 \ .\




Legend: Turner Hole Bay Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


!


0 &,
I (
m


/


/






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 13a. Length Frequency Distribution of
Haemulonflavolineatum Caught by Traps in
Turner Hole Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day
and Monthly Data subsamplee, N=32).
8
7

-5
4 -
33-
z2


50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Total Length (mm)
Mean Size at Sexual Maturity 160mm TL
(Billings and Munro 1974).


Figure 13b. Length Frequency Distribution of
Haemulonflavolineatum Caught by Traps in
Robin Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data (N=19)


8
7
6
5
4
3
Z2
1 -
0


I Ii,.


l


50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Total Length (mm)
Mean Size at Sexual Maturity 160mm TL
(Billings and Munro 1974).


Figure 13c. Length Frequency Distribution of
Haemulonflavolineatum Caught by Traps in
Great Pond Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data (N=9)


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity 160mm TL
(Billings and Munro 1974).







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 14a. Length Frequency Distribution of
Sparisoma radians Caught by Traps in Turner
Hole Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data subsamplee, N=67)
16
14
12
E 10
C-
8
6
-e 6
4
2
0
20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160


Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = No
Information Available


Figure 14b. Length Frequency Distribution of
Sparisoma radians Caught by Traps in Robin
Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and Monthly
Data subsamplee, N=102).


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = No
Information Available


Figure 14c. Length Frequency Distribution of
Sparisoma radians Caught by Traps in Great
Pond Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data (N=1)
1.2


1.0
. 0.8

S0.6
E 0.4
" 0.4
3


20 40 60 80 100
Total Length (mm)


120 140 16(


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = No
Information Available







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 15a. Length Frequency Distribution of
Pseudupeneus maculatus Caught by Traps in
Turner Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data subsamplee, N=44)


Figure 15b. Length Frequency Distribution of
Pseudupeneus maculatus Caught by Traps in
Robin Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data subsamplee, N=37).
14
12
S10
C 8
I 6
4 4
2
0


60 80 100 120 140


160 180 200 220


Total Length (nm)


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 180 mm TL
(Munro 1983).


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 180 mm TL
(Munro 1983).


Figure 15c. Length Frequency Distribution of
Pseudupeneus maculatus Caught by Traps in
Great Pond Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data (N=5)


60 80 100
60 80 100


120 140 160 180 200 220
Total Length (mm)


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 180 mm TL
(Munro 1983).







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 16a. Length Frequency Distribution of
Acanthurus chirurgus Caught by Traps in Turner
Hole Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and Monthly
Data subsamplee, N=85)


40
S35
S30
S25
20
S15
10
5
0


20 30 40 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
Total Length (nm)


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity =140 mm TL
(Reeson 1983).


Figure 16b. Length Frequency Distribution of
Acanthurus chirurgus Caught by Traps in
Robin Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and
Monthly Data (N=19)
16
14
S12
S10
8 -
S6-
S4-
2
0
20 30 40 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
Total Length (nm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 140 mm TL
(Reeson 1983).


Figure 16c. Length Frequency Distribution of
Acanthurus chirurgus Caught by Traps in Great
Pond Bay Based on Pooled Trap-day and Monthly
Data (N=13)
10
9
8
S7
6,
S5
-^ 4
3 3
2
1-
0


20 30 40 60 70 80
Total Length (mm)


90 100 110 120


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 140 mm TL
(Reeson 1983).







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 17a. Mean Monthly Number of Fish
Caught Per Seine-Haul for Southeast St. Croix
Embayments Based on Pooled Seine-Haul
Data.
60

50

40

30

20

S10 "

2 a a a a a a-1 -------------! -! -1 ------
o a a a a a a a a a a 0 0 0 0
0a 1




Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 17b. Mean Monthly Number of
Species Caught Per Seine-Haul for Southeast
St. Croix Embayments Based on Pooled Seine-
Haul Data


6
5
4
3 _


1
0


6\ I
Ku`k I


2 0 0 a 0 0 0 0 a a a 0 0 0
C O Q L .. .. c f


Legend: ETurner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


*\

1







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 18a. Monthly Mean Number of Caranx
latus Caught per Seine Net-Haul for Southeast
St. Croix Embayments Based on Pooled Seine
Net-Haul Data
S20
S18
16
14
12
S10
8 -
6 -
4 6
2 4
0



Legend: Turner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay


Figure 18b. Monthly Mean Number of
Eucinostomusjonesi Caught per Seine Net-
Haul for Southeast St. Croix Embayments
Based on Pooled Seine Net-Haul Data
20
18
16
14
12
10
S8
6







Legend: Turner Hole Bay *Robin Bay
*Great Pond Bay
6 [ W x ^/ \
^ o.^K ./A\ s-.^r


Figure 18c. Monthly Mean Number of
Trachinotusfalcatus Caught per Seine Net-
Haul for Southeast St. Croix Embayments
Based on Pooled Seine Net-Haul Data
i 12
S10
8
u 8 6
~- 4
a 2

Legend: Turner Hole Bay
*Great Pond Bay


*Robin Bay







Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 19a. Length Frequency Distribution of
Caranx latus Caught by Seine Net-Hauls in
Turner Hole Bay Based on Pooled Monthly and
Seine Net-Haul Data (N=13).
7
6 -



63
25






0
50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 370 mm TL
(Thomson and Munro 1974).




Figure 19c. Length Frequency Distribution of
Caranx latus Caught by Seine Net-Hauls in
Great Pond Bay Based on Pooled Monthly and
Seine Net-Haul Data(N=6)
2.5

S2.0

S1.5

S1.0

0.5

0.0
50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 370 mm TL
(Thomson and Munro 1974).


Figure 19b. Length Frequency Distribution of
Caranx latus Caught by Seine Net-Hauls in
Robin Bay Based on Pooled Monthly and Seine
Net-Haul Data subsamplee, N=13).
4.5
4.0
3.5 -
3.0
S2.5
o
2.0 -
a 1.5
1.0 -
0.5 -
0.0 I-
50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 370 mm TL
(Thomson and Munro 1974).




Figure 19d. Length Frequency Distribution of
Eucinostomusjonesi Caught by Seine Net-
Hauls in Turner Hole Bay Based on Pooled
Monthly and Seine Net-Haul Data (N=6)

2.5 -
2.0
1.5
1e.0
0.5
0.0-



Total Length (mm)


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = No
Information Available






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 19e. Length Frequency Distribution of
Eucinostomusjonesi Caught by Seine Net-
Hauls in Robin Bay Based on Pooled Monthly
and Seine Net-Haul Data (N=22).

8.0
S6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0I


Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = No
Information Available.


Figure 19g. Length Frequency Distribution of
Trachinotusfalcatus Caught by Seine Net-
Hauls in Turner Hole Bay Based on Pooled
Monthly and Seine Net-Haul Data (N=15).


5.0
S4.0
3.0
- 2.0
1.0
0.0


Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 250 mm TL
(Garcia-Cagide et al 1994, cited in ICLARM
1995).


Figure 19f. Length Frequency Distribution of
Eucinostomusjonesi Caught by Seine Net-
Hauls in Great Pond Bay Based on Pooled
Monthly and Seine Net-Haul Data subsamplee,
N=49)
14 T


12
10
8
6
4
2
01 11


30 50 70


111 .. .. E,


90 110 130
Total Length (mm)


150 170


Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = No
Information Available


Figure 19h. Length Frequency Distribution of
Trachinotusfalcatus Caught by Seine Net-
Hauls in Robin Bay Based on Pooled Monthly
and Seine-Net Haul Data subsamplee, N=46)


30 50


n]


nnn


170 19(


70 90 110 130 150


Total Length (mm)
Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 250 mm TL
(Garcia-Cagide et al 1994).


_Ji'





Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Figure 19i. Length Frequency Distribution of
Trachinotusfalcatus Caught by Seine Net-Hauls
in Great Pond Bay Based on Pooled Monthly
and Seine-Net Haul Data (N=46)


Total Length (mm)

Mean Size at Sexual Maturity = 250 mm TL
(Garcia-Cagide et al 1994).


I I 1.11.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


APPENDIX A
Definition of Embayment Habitat Types


Habitat Type Definition of Each Habitat (after Adams and Ebersole, In Press)
Patch Reef Isolated, high calcareous structure (not part of the contiguous reef) with
a vertical profile that often, but not always contains live coral cover.
The most important characteristic is vertical relief.

Rubble Low-relief calcareous structure composed primarily of dead/dying coral
fragments that are not attached to the substrate. Rubble habitat may
occur over extended areas or as isolated fragments within seagrass,
sand, or algal plain habitats

Seagrass Monospecific or nearly monospecific, stands of Thalassia testudinum,
with varying densities of Syringodiumfiliforme mixed in.

Sand Areas of open sand with no or very little (<10% cover) plants or
coralline material represented.

Algal Plain Sand bottom dominated by Dictyota spp., Halimeda spp., Penicillus
spp., Acanthophora spp., and Udotea spp., which may include sparse
stands of S. filiforme and T. testudinum.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 5,
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Appendix B
Summary of Normality Test, One-way ANOVA, and Multiple Comparison Test
Results for the Southeast Coast of St. Croix, USVI

Patch reef=PR, algal plain=AP, sand=S, R=rubble, seagrass=SG
TH=Turner Hole Bay, RB=Robin Bay, GP=Great Pond Bay.
No Comparison Kolmogorov- Kruskall- Dunn's Multiple
Smirnov Wallis One Comparison Test
Normality Way ANOVA
Test (*1) (*2)
1 Fish density between Failed Not Significant differences
embayments (visual significant (p<0.05) in fish density,
census) (p>0.05) GP>RB
2 Number of species Failed Not Significant differences
between embayments significant (p<0.05) in number of
(visual census) (p>0.05) species density, TH>RB
3 Diversity index Failed Not Significant differences
between embayments significant (p<0.05) in diversity index,
(visual census) (p>0.05) TH>GP,TH>RB
4 Evenness index Failed Not Not applicable
between embayments significant
(visual census) (p>0.05)
5 Fish density between Failed Significant Significant differences
habitats (visual census) differences (p<0.05) in fish density,
(p<0.05) PR>AP, PR>S, R>AP, R>S
6 Number of species Failed Significant Significant differences
between habitats differences (p<0.05) in number of
(visual census) (p<0.05) species density, PR>AP,
PR>S, PR>SG, R>AP, R>S,
R>SG
7 Diversity index Failed Significant Significant differences
between habitats differences (p<0.05) in diversity index,
(visual census) (p<0.05) PR>AP, PR>S, R>S, R>AP
8 Evenness index Failed Not Not applicable
between habitats significant
(visual census) (p>0.05)
9 H. bivittatus densities Failed Not Not applicable
between embayments significant
(visual census) (p>0.05)
10 S. radians densities Failed Significant Not applicable
between embayments differences
(visual census) _(p<0.05)






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 53
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Appendix B (continued)
Summary of Normality Test, One-way ANOVA, and Multiple Comparison Test
Results for the Southeast Coast of St. Croix, USVI

Patch reef=PR, algal plain=AP, sand=S, R=rubble, seagrass=SG
TH=Turner Hole Bay, RB=Robin Bay, GP=Great Pond Bay.
No Comparison Kolmogorov Kruskall- Dunn's Multiple
-Smirnov Wallis One Comparison Test
Normality Way ANOVA
Test (*1) (*2)
11 Haemulon unk. densities Failed Significant Not applicable
between embayments differences
(visual census) (p<0.05)
12 H. flavolineatum densities Failed Significant Not applicable
between embayments differences
(visual census) (p<0.05)
13 Number of fish caught per Failed Not significant Significant differences
trap-day between (p>0.05) (p<0.05) in number of fish
embayments (fish trap) caught per trap-day,
TH>GP, RB>GP
14 Number of species caught Failed Not significant Not applicable
per trap-day between (p>0.05)
embayments (fish trap)
15 A. chirurgus catch rates Failed Not significant Not applicable
between embayments (fish (p>0.05)
trap)
16 H. flavolineatum catch Failed Not significant Not applicable
rates between embayments (p>0.05)
(fish trap)
17 P. maculatus catch rates Failed Not significant Not applicable
between embayments (fish (p>0.05)
trap)
18 S. radians catch rates Failed Significant Significant differences
between embayments (fish differences (p<0.05) in catch rates,
trap) (p<0.05) TH>GP,RB>GP
19 Number of fish caught per Failed Significant Significant differences
haul between embayments differences (p<0.05) in number of fish
(seine-haul) (p<0.05) caught per haul, GP>TH
20 Number of species caught Failed Significant Significant differences
per haul between differences (p<0.05) in number of
embayments (seine-haul) __(p<0.05) species per haul, GP>TH






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes 5z
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Appendix B (continued)
Summary of Normality Test, One-way ANOVA, and Multiple Comparison Test
Results for the Southeast Coast of St. Croix, USVI

Patch reef=PR, algal plain=AP, sand=S, R=rubble, seagrass=SG
TH=Turner Hole Bay, RB=Robin Bay, GP=Great Pond Bay.
No Comparison Kolmogorov- Kruskall- Dunn's Multiple
Smirnov Wallis One Comparison Test
Normality Way ANOVA
Test (*1) (*2)
21 C. latus catch rates Failed Not Not applicable
between embayments significant
(seine-haul) (p>0.05)
22 T. falcatus catch rates Failed Not Not applicable
between embayments significant
(seine-haul) (p>0.05)
23 E. jonesi catch rates Failed Not Significant differences
between embayments significant (p<0.05) in E. jonesi catch
(seine-haul) (p>0.05) rates between embayments
GP>TH
* Notes:
1. Data must fail normality test in order to apply ANOVA on Ranks.
2. ANOVA results must be significant in order to apply Dunn's Multiple Comparison Test.






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Appendix C.
Summary of Normality Test, Two way ANOVA, and Multiple Comparison Test
Results for the Southeast Coast of St. Croix, USVI.


Patch reef=PR, algal plain=
TH=Turner Hole Bav RB


=AP, sand=S, R=rubble, seagrass=SG
=Robin Ba
y G
P=Great Pond Ba
y


No. Comparison Kolmogorov Two way Dunn's Multiple Comparison
-Smirnov ANOVA on Test
Normality Ranks (*2)
Test (*1)
1 Fish densities by Failed Significant 1. Significant differences
Habitat and by differences (p<0.05) in fish density, PR>S,
Size Class (p<0.05) by PR>SG, PR>AP, PR>R,
treatment and R>AP, R>S
between
treatments 2. <5 cm TL fish density
significantly higher (p<0.05)
than all other size class
densities (pooled habitats)
2 Fish densities by Significant differences (p<0.05) in
habitat for <5 cm fish density, PR>S, PR>SG,
TL fish PR>S,PR>AP, R>S
3 Fish densities by Significant differences (p<0.05) in
habitat for 5-10 fish density, PR>S, PR>SG,
cm TL fish PR>S,PR>AP, R>S
4 Fish densities by Significant differences (p<0.05) in
habitat for >10 fish density, PR>S, PR>SG,
cm TL fish PR>S,PR>AP, R>AP
5 Fish densities by <5 cm TL fish density significantly
size class for higher (p<0.05) than >10cm TL
seagrass habitat fish density in seagrass
6 Fish densities by <5 cm TL fish density significantly
size classes for higher (p<0.05) than all other size
patch reef habitat classes in patch reefs
7 Fish densities by <5 cm TL fish density significantly
size classes for higher (p<0.05) than all other size
algal plain habitat classes in algal plains
8 Fish densities by <5 cm TL fish density significantly
size class for higher (p<0.05) than all other size
rubble habitat classes in rubble habitat






Final Report F-7: Nearshore Habitats as Nursery Grounds for Recreationally Important Fishes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Period: October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001


Appendix C (continued).
Summary of Normality Test, Two way ANOVA, and Multiple Comparison Test
Results for the Southeast Coast of St. Croix, USVI.


Patch reef=PR, algal plain=
TH=Turner Hole Bav RB


=AP, sand=S, R=rubble, seagrass=SG
=Robin Ba
y G
P=Great Pond Ba
y


No. Comparison Kolmogorov Two way ANOVA Dunn's Multiple Comparison
-Smirnov on Ranks (*2) Test
Normality
Test (*1)
9 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
size class for sand
habitat
10 Fish densities by Failed Significant 1. <5 cm TL fish density
embayment and differences significantly higher
by size class (p<0.05) by (p<0.05) than all other size
treatment. class densities (pooled
No significant embayments)
differences between 2. No significant differences
treatments (p>0.05) (p>0.05) in fish density by
No Significant embayment
Interactions
(p>0.05) among
treatments
11 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
embayment for
<5 cm TL fish
12 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
embayment for 5-
10 cm TL fish
13 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
embayment for
>10 cm TL fish
14 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
size classes for
Cottongarden Bay
15 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
size classes for
Teague Bay
16 Fish densities by Not significant (p>0.05)
size classes for
Yellowcliff Bay__
* Notes:
1. Data must fail normality test in order to apply ANOVA on Ranks.
2. ANOVA results must be significant in order to apply Dunn's Multiple Comparison Test.




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