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A fisheries perspective of behavioural variability: differences in movement behaviour and extraction rate of an exploited sparid, snapper (Pagrus auratus)

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Intraspecific variation in movement patterns are well established for many species, but poorly appreciated in fisheries management. In this study we dart-tagged snapper (Pagrus auratus), an important fishery species, across different areas and habitats in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Tag returns were used to quantify movement behaviour and extraction rates using a maximum likelihood model that corrected for spatial variability in population size and fishing effort. Residency was high (~90%) in two strata and lower (75%) in the remaining stratum. The stratum with the highest residency also appeared to experience the highest extraction rate (likely due to a lower population size). These results confirm the existence of differences in movement behaviour within the snapper population, suggesting that localized areas may become depleted regardless of the status of the overall stock. This has consequences for the scale of fisheries management and the size of marine reserves implemented in different regions. Understanding why variation in movement behaviour exists (i.e., genetic vs. environmental) is the next step in addressing the influence of animal behaviour on fisheries management.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Private Bag 99940, Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand. 2: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 14901, Wellington, New Zealand.

Publication date: April 12, 2011

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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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