Marine reserves: Patterns of adult movement of the coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae))

Dirk C. Zeller, Garry R. Russ

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99 Citations (Scopus)


Movements of Plectropomus leopardus (Serranidae), a major fisheries species, across marine reserve boundaries were investigated on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Mark-release-recapture and ultrasonic telemetry were used to assess movements. Mark-release-recapture used hook and line as the method of capture and underwater visual census (UVC) as the 'recapture' tool. Catch rates were significantly higher in zones closed to fishing, despite UVC indicating no significant differences in density between closed and open zones. Of 183 fish marked with numerical freeze brands, 93 estimates of movements of branded fish were obtained. No branded fish was recorded to cross the reserve boundaries during the 2-month study, probably due to the initial decision to allocate capture effort evenly across the study area, rather than concentrating it on reserve boundaries. Fish carrying ultrasonic transmitters, and having home ranges straddling reserve boundaries, crossed boundaries on average 15.3 times·month-1. The mean distance moved by freeze branded specimens between capture and recapture was significantly larger in areas closed to fishing than in those open to fishing. However, mean distance moved per day determined by ultrasonic telemetry did not differ between areas closed and open to fishing. This study suggests low flux rates of adult P. leopardus across marine reserve boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-924
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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