The effects of a tropical cyclone on the distribution of hatchery-reared black-spot tuskfish Choerodon schoenleinii were examined using acoustic telemetry. Nine fish were released in Urasoko Bay, Ishigaki Island, Japan, in September 2006, and another nine were released in June to July 2007, before a cyclone's passing through the area in September 2007. Data for the fish released in 2006 were used as the cyclone-inexperienced group to compare their distribution pattern to that of the 2007 cyclone-experienced group. Both groups of fish were monitored for up to 150 days. Of the nine fish in each group, four (44%) and two (22%) were monitored for over 150 days in the cyclone-inexperienced and the cyclone-experienced groups, respectively. Three of the five fish that had settled in the monitoring area left the area within a few days of the cyclone event. To estimate the time of disappearance of the fish, maximum wind speed during a period of 7 days (indicating the occurrence and intensity of the tropical cyclone), fish size and release year were evaluated as explanatory variables using a Cox proportional hazards model with Akaike's information criterion. The best predictive model included the effect of maximum wind speed. One fish that left the monitoring area displayed movement patterns related to strong winds, suggesting that wind-associated strong currents swept the fish away. No relationships were found between the movement patterns of the other two fish and any physical environmental data. The daily detection periods of one of the two fish gradually decreased after the cyclone hit, and this fish eventually left the monitoring area within 3 days, suggesting that it shifted to a habitat outside the monitoring area. These results indicate that tropical cyclones have both direct and indirect effects on the distribution of hatchery-reared C. schoenleinii.
Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan 2:
Ishigaki Tropical Station, Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute, FRA, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0451, Japan