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Stock structure of blue threadfin Eleutheronema tetradactylum on the Queensland east coast, as determined by parasites and conventional tagging

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Blue threadfin Eleutheronema tetradactylum (Polynemidae) were examined from four areas (Princess Charlotte Bay, Trinity Inlet, Halifax Bay and Upstart Bay) in eastern Queensland covering a distance of c. 950 km of coastline. Parasites were used as biological markers to infer stock structure of E. tetradactylum. Parasites designated as ‘temporary’ biological markers were the copepod Thysanote eleutheronemi, the acanthocephalan Neoechinorhynchus topseyi, the nematode Philometra rajani and hemiurid trematodes. The larval nematodes Anisakis sp. Type 1 and Terranova sp. Type 2; and the larval cestodes Pterobothrium pearsoni and Callitetrarhynchus gracilis were considered ‘permanent’ biological markers. Both univariate and multivariate analyses demonstrated that there was little difference in temporary parasite abundance between the four areas. In contrast, the same analyses revealed that most areas had two or more significant differences in permanent parasite abundance, with the exception of Halifax Bay and Upstart Bay, which were significantly different only in the multivariate analysis. Biological markers predicted that Princess Charlotte Bay and Trinity Inlet consisted of distinct populations, whereas Halifax Bay and Upstart Bay were not clearly differentiated. Tag recapture data supported this hypothesis; the majority of recaptures were within 100 km of the initial tagging location. Geographical movement of E. tetradactylum may be limited due to their biology and ecology, as well as the distances and oceanographic boundaries that separate habitats. Contrary to current management definitions, the stock structure of E. tetradactylum on the east coast of Queensland appears to be geographically differentiated at a small spatial scale.

Keywords: Queensland; biological markers; fisheries management; stock identity

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia 2: Infofish Services, PO Box 9793 Frenchville, Queensland 4701, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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