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Fisheries replenishment of early life taxa: potential export of fish eggs and larvae from a temperate marine protected area

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An ichthyoplankton survey was conducted at the periphery of Cabrera National Park (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean Sea) in July 2004, using bongo nets, fixed nets and collection of oceanographic data. This work focused on analysing the distribution of eggs and larval stages of some fishery-targeted taxa (Coris julis, Epinephelus spp., Sciaena umbra and Scorpaena sp.) whose adult abundances and/or biomass are higher in the reserve and therefore would be likely to show gradients of larval abundance attributable to the existence of the Marine Protected Area (MPA). Oceanographic data indicated there was water column stratification, horizontal distribution of surface water masses and hydrodynamic features linked with Mediterranean seasonality. During the summer sampling, eggs and larvae of targeted fish taxa were mainly located in the northeast of the MPA, near the coast. An effect of depth and current was demonstrated for Coris julis and Epinephelus spp. and there appears to be an offshore gradient for the other targeted taxa, especially for the egg stages. These data highlight the fact that the Cabrera archipelago is a potential important spawning area for targeted fishery species.
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Keywords: Coris julis; Epinephelus spp; Marine Protected Area; Sciaena umbra; Scorpaena sp; Western Mediterranean; eggs; fisheries; ichthyoplankton; spatial distribution; spawning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Instituto Español de Oceanografía/Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, Muelle Pelaires, 07080 Palma de Mallorca, Spain 2: USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE, CRIOBE-Université de Perpignan Via Dominitia, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France 3: AZTI-Technalia, Herrera Kaia, portu aldea z/g, 20110 Pasaia, Gipuzkoa, Spain

Publication date: 01 March 2010

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