Bottom Water Drift on the Tortugas Grounds
Abstract:The pink shrimp, Penaeus duorarum, spawns on the Tortugas fishing grounds. The planktonic larvae are for the most part subject to passive transport with the prevailing currents. The juvenile stages occur in the Everglades nursery area. Previous work indicated that the currents in the upper waters flow in a westerly direction away from the nursery ground. To determine whether shrimp could be transported by bottom currents to the Everglades nursery area, a sea-bed drifter program was established.
Five hundred and ninety Woodhead sea-bed drifters (U.S. version) were released on and near the Tortugas shrimp fishing grounds in February, March, and October, 1964. Analysis of the recovery data indicates a general southwestward bottom drift of at least one nautical mile per day across the grounds. Variation in the direction of drifter movement in the western section suggests greater meandering in this region than in the eastern section.
We conclude that pink shrimp cannot be transported eastward across the Tortugas grounds to the nursery area by bottom currents. A likely alternative route is through Rebecca Channel, along the western margin of the Florida Current, and through the Florida Keys to Florida Bay and the Everglades nursery area.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1967
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