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Stock discrimination and movements of narrow‐barred Spanish mackerel across northern Australia as indicated by parasites

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The parasite fauna of Spanish mackerel Scomberomorus commerson from 10 sites across northern Australia and one site in Indonesia, was examined to evaluate the degree of movement and subsequent stock structure of the fish. Kupang fish (Indonesia) had very few Terranova spp., Grillotia branchi, Otobothrium cysticum or Pterobothrium sp. compared to Australian fish, indicating that no Australian fish enter the Kupang fishery. Univariate and discriminant function analysis of four ‘temporary’ parasite species, the copepod Pseudocycnoides armatus and the monogeneans Gotocotyla bivaginalis, Pricea multae and Pseudothoracocotyla ovalis, demonstrated little similarity between areas of northern Australia, indicating minimal short‐term exchange between neighbouring groups of S. commerson. Analyses of five ‘permanent’ parasite species, the larval helminths G. branchi, O. cysticum, Pterobothrium sp., Callitetrarhynchus gracilis and Paranybelinia balli, also revealed large differences between areas thus indicating long‐term separation. There are at least six parasitological stocks across northern Australia: Fog Bay/Bathurst Island, Cape Wessel, Groote/Sir Edward Pellew, Mornington Island, Weipa, and the Torres Strait. The occurrence of a few irregular fish in the samples suggested that up to 5% of fish moved between stocks during their lifetime. The similarity of within‐school variability to that between schools showed that the fish do not form long‐term school associations.

Keywords: Australia; Scomberomorus commerson; fisheries management; mackerel; parasites; stock structure

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072, Australia and 2: Fisheries Group, Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development, G. P. O. Box 3000, Darwin, Northern Territory, 0801, Australia

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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