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Title: Ecological effects of rubble weir jetty construction at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Volume III, Community structure and habitat utilization of fishes and decapods associated with the jetties
Authors: Van Dolah, Robert F.
Wendt, Priscilla H.
Wenner, Charles A.
Martore, Robert M.
Sedberry, George R., 1950-
Moore, Charles J.
Keywords: Breakwaters--South Carolina--Environmental aspects
Decapoda (Crustacea)
Coastal ecology--South Carolina
Murrells Inlet (S.C.)
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Coastal Engineering Research Center (U.S.)
U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station.
Series/Report no.: Technical Report;EL-84-4, Volume III
Abstract: Quarrystone jetties at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, were studied over a 1-year period to: (a) identify changes in the distribution, relative abundance, and composition of fish and crab assemblages, (b) characterize the food habits of most fish species collected, and (c) identify seasonal patterns in recreational fishing activities around the jetties. Fishes were assessed using gill nets, traps, and rotenone collections and by diver surveys; crabs were sampled using traps. Fish food habits were determined through stomach content analyses, and interview-count surveys were used to identify recreational fishing activities. Seventy-five species of fish representing 53 families were captured or observed around the jetty rocks. Distinct seasonal differences were observed in the community composition, as well as in the overall abundance of fishes collected or observed. The jetties generally attracted fish species that are normally associated with reef structures, species that are commonly found around estuarine inlets, and species that seasonally migrate along the coast. The jetties also appear to serve as nursery habitat for a variety of fish species. Stomach content analyses of 55 species identified three major trophic groups: fish that are mostly piscivorous, fish that feed primarily on sand bottom epifauna, and fish that feed primarily on jetty biota or zooplankton. Several of the recreationally important species feed directly on the jetty fauna, or on smaller fishes which consume jetty biota. Stone crabs were numerically dominant among the eight species of crabs captured by trap around the jetty rocks. Stone crab catches were greatest in spring and declined in all subsequent seasons. More stone crabs were captured on the exposed versus channel side of the jetty, and most were caught at night. The Murrells Inlet jetties do not appear to support more than an incidental stone crab fishery. Considerable recreational fishing was observed around both the north and south jetties, with most fishing activity observed on weekend days. Interviewed anglers primarily sought red drum, flounder, spot, bluefish, king mackerel, and sheepshead; however, black sea bass and smooth dogfish were the species most frequently caught. The numbers of fishes and fish species caught by fishermen were greatest during the summer, and more fish were captured around the jetty structures than in nonjetty areas.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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