Determination of the Effects of Marine Fish Cage Culture on Benthic Communities of Ghazale Creek (NW of Persian Gulf) Using Benthic Indices
The overall goal of this study was to determine the probable effects of marine fish cage culture on benthic communities using biotic indices, in Ghazale creek, Khowr-e Mussa region ( NW of the Persian Gulf). Monthly Sampling took place from June 2007 to March 2008 (during nine month). Stations were selected according to the distances from under cages to 400 m distance (as control site) in Ghazaleh Creek. Sediment samples were taken using Van Veen grab (0.025 m2 area) in 3 replicates; Percentage of grain size and total organic matter (TOM) were also analysed. TOM ranged from 6.11% to 23.26% and the silty-clay ranged from 4.76% to 97.47%. Macrobenthic community included 21 orders and the dominant groups were Polychaetes (60.62%), Molluscs (19.67%), and Crustaceans (16.49%), respectively. In this study, the all values of macrobenthic abundance, biomass and diversity factors in the station under cage were less than the control site. According to the ABC index results, the under cage, 50 m and 150 m distance stations have shown moderate pollution status, while the 400 m (control site) station showed unpolluted condition. According to the BOPA index, all stations were evaluated in poor ecological status.