Movement and Growth of Red Snapper, Lutjanus Campechanus, from an Artificial Reef Area in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico
Artificial reefs increase fish catches, but whether reefs function by production or simply attraction is still unresolved. Coastal Alabama has few natural reefs but extensive artificial reef habitat. Thus, this area was suitable for the study of artificial reef effects on fish populations. We studied the movement, abundance, age, and growth of red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, and the age and growth of lane snapper, L. synagris, from artificial reefs in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. We estimated by trawling the highest L. campechanus CPUE (mean = 790 fish·h−1) from coastal Alabama compared to any other location or time period from previously reported values. Growth rates of L. synagris appeared faster off Alabama, compared to growth rates reported in previous studies. Also, L. campechanus showed larger sizes and older ages (42 years) from this area off Alabama, a substantial increase over the oldest previously reported age (13 years). Most (74%) of the marked and recaptured L. campechanus were recaptured within 2 km of their release site. Also, distance moved was not related to amount of time at large, even after extended periods (up to 430 d). These factors, including high CPUE, faster growth, larger sizes, older age, high residence, and very few natural reef habitats, suggest increased production rather than attraction as the operating mechanism for increased catches of L. campechanus from this artificial reef area.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 1994
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