Population estimates and size structure of Plectropomus leopardus (Pisces: Serranidae) in relation to no-fishing zones: Mark-release-resighting and underwater visual census

D. C. Zeller, G. R. Russ

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21 Citations (Scopus)


A mark-release resighting (MRR) technique was used to estimate population size of the coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus, on coral reefs fringing Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Fish were captured by hook-and-line fishing, and marked with individual freeze-brand numbers in August 1995. An underwater visual census (UVC) technique was used during September and October 1995 both for resighting of marked fish and to make an independent estimate of fish density and thus population size. The study area was 750 966 m2. The UVC sampled 154 000 m2 (20.5%) of this area. Six different methods of analysis of MRR gave similar population size estimates (e.g. Petersen 12 873; 95% CI 9989-15 754) extrapolated to the 4.5 million-m2 reef area from datum to 20-m depth around Lizard Island. UVC gave a population size estimate (24 182; 95% CI 21 860-26 504) twice that of MRR. The lower estimate derived from MRR may be the result of tag-induced mortality, or of the relative difficulty in discriminating between marked and unmarked trout by UVC. This is only the second estimate of population size of coral trout on an area of the Great Barrier Reef.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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