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Spatial differentiation of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) movements relative to the Bahamian archipelago

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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: 01 July 2014

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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