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Novel sledge net system employing propulsion vehicles for sampling demersal organisms on sandy bottoms

Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2009.04.004
  • Ichthyofauna
  • Scuba
  • Sampling Gear
  • Flatfishes
  • Demersal Organisms
  • Propulsion Vehicles


Abstract A new sledge net system using propulsion vehicles has been developed to sample more efficiently the demersal juveniles of marine organisms. A net attached to a sledge maneuvered by a SCUBA diver who uses operating switches on a steering handle to adjust the altitude of the sledge and the position of the tickler chains to ensure that the footcloth of the mouth of the net remains in constant contact with the bottom surface. Video camera, flow meter, compass, and dive computers are positioned on the sledge net in the view of the diver. Given that the system can attain speeds of 70 cm s −1, the net can be employed to capture highly mobile fish. Unlike most boat-based net sampling methods, the use of propulsion vehicles means that there are no sound or vibration disturbances due to the boat and tow ropes typically used to maneuver these types of sampling nets. Marine fauna was collected at monthly intervals over a two-year period in a sampling area along the southern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. A total of 2641 specimens comprising 61 species and including five species which were the first records for the region were collected. These findings suggest that the new sledge net system employing propulsion vehicles was effective for sampling demersal juveniles, particularly in situations where sledge nets towed by boats or push nets cannot be deployed.

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