Spatial differentiation of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) movements relative to the Bahamian archipelago
Dolphinfish [n = 1188; 35–152.5 cm FL; mean: 73.78 (SD 16.58) cm FL] movements relative to The Bahamas were examined using conventional plastic dart tags (PDTs) and single point pop-up satellite archival tags (n = 2; 107.5 and 120 cm); these movements were compared to surface drifter tracks (n = 144) in the region from 2004 to 2012. The overall recapture rate for dolphinfish released within The Bahamas was 2.7% (n = 33) for fish that ranged in size from 45 to 122.5 cm FL [81.87 (SD 21.84) cm FL]. Days at liberty (DAL) averaged 23.03 (SD 20.60) d (range 0–77 d) and movement speeds (range 0–19.93 km d–1) and headings were dependent upon the location of tagging. Linear displacements ranged from 0 to 1903.16 km. Movements within The Bahamas were to the south in the Tongue of the Ocean, Northeast Providence Channel, and Exuma Sound, ranging from 4 to 23 DAL. However, the majority of dolphinfish released in the Tongue of the Ocean showed little net dispersal (<1 km) after 5–77 DAL. Emigration from The Bahamas occurred most frequently for fish released north of Great Abaco and Eleuthera Islands; fish were recaptured from near Cape Canaveral, Florida, to southeast of George's Bank after 14–58 DAL. Recapture patterns when compared to drifter tracks suggest dolphinfish migrate in a circuit around the western central Atlantic to The Bahamas, but paths can vary widely in temporal and spatial scale. These observations are potentially key for understanding inter-regional dolphinfish movements and stock structure between exclusive economic zones in the western central Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2014
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