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Automated monitoring of a large-scale cod (Gadus morhua) migration in the open sea

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The migration patterns of marine fishes are poorly known, in part owing to the technical limitations associated with tracking the movements of animals in deep water. Here we document a large-scale, directed, migration of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) off eastern Canada. Our approach was based on the acoustic tagging of 126 fish and the deployment of 69 subsurface receivers, stretching over a 160-km distance along the edge of the Laurentian Channel. After 1 year of automated recording, we found that 65% of the fish migrated out of coastal waters in two distinct runs during the summer–autumn period. The offshore-migrating fish overwintered in deep Laurentian Channel waters, returning inshore in April. Individual migration routes and migration timing were variable, indicating that the cod did not aggregate in large schools during the seasonal migration events.

Les patrons migratoires des poissons marins sont mal connus, en partie à cause de limitations techniques reliées au suivi des mouvements d'animaux en haute mer. Cette étude documente une migration dirigée et à grande échelle de morues (Gadus morhua) sur la côte est canadienne. Nos résultats sont basés sur le marquage de 126 poissons et le déploiement de 69 récepteurs sur une distance de 160 km le long de la pente du Chenal Laurentien. Après 1 an d'enregistrements automatisés, nous avons trouvé que 65 % des morues ont migré vers le large en deux épisodes distincts en été et en automne. Les poissons qui ont migré vers le large ont passé l'hiver dans les eaux profondes du Chenal Laurentien, pour retourner en eaux côtières en avril. Les trajets migratoires individuels et leur synchronisme étaient variables, ce qui indique que les morues ne se sont pas agrégées en grands bancs durant leurs migrations saisonnières.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-12-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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