Artificial reefs act as high-rugosity habitats and are often deployed to enhance fishing; however, the effects of man-made features on fish communities can be unpredictable and are poorly understood in deeper waters. In this study, we used a submersible to describe a deep-water artificial reef complex (93–245 m) off of Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, USA, and evaluated possible conservation and/or fisheries-related contributions. Sixty-eight species were recorded, with larger features supporting greater diversity of species. Species composition changed strongly with depth and a faunal break was detected from 113–137 m. While the features supported diverse fish communities, they were not similar to those on natural substrates, and were numerically dominated by only two species, Lutjanis kasmira and Chromis verater. Depth-generalist and endemic species were present at levels comparable to natural substrates, but were less abundant and species-rich than at biogenic Leptoseris reefs at similar depths. While the non-native L. kasmira was highly abundant, its presence and abundance were not associated with discernable changes in the fish community, and was not present deeper than 120 m. Finally, five species of commercially- and recreationally-important ‘Deep 7’ fisheries species were also observed, but the artificial reef complex was mostly too shallow to provide meaningful benefits.
USA - Hawaii