ABSTRACT:

The fish fauna associated with two ENI-AGIP gas platforms (Regina and Annalisa) located in the central Adriatic sea was investigated at regular intervals for two and three years from their construction through fishing samplings. The monitoring was also carried out at two open sea control sites placed at the same depths and on the same type of bottom of the platforms. Higher species richness, species diversity and catch rates were obtained at the platforms in comparison with the respective control sites, demonstrating that the artificial structures induced an enrichment and a diversification of the original fish assemblage, mainly due to the appearance and/or the constant occurrence of reef-dwelling or partially reef-dwelling species which resulted rare or completely absent in the original habitat. These effects were more evident at platform Annalisa, where a consistent increase of catch rates was already observed within the first year from its installation.

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