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Article << Previous     |         Contents Vol 56(4)

Movement and juvenile recruitment of mangrove jack, Lutjanus argentimaculatus (Forsskål), in northern Australia

D. J. Russell A C, A. J. McDougall B

A Northern Fisheries Centre, PO Box 5396, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia.
B Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 1143, Bundaberg, Qld 4670, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: john.russell@dpi.qld.gov.au
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Lutjanus argentimaculatus, tagged and released in coastal rivers and estuaries, were found to have made inter- and intra-riverine, coastal and offshore movements. A small proportion of the recaptures made offshore movements to reef habitats of up to 315 km and these recaptures were fish that were at liberty, on average, more than twice as long as those fish that had made intra-riverine movements. Most juvenile fish <400-mm length to caudal fork (LCF) resident in rivers were recaptured less than a kilometre from where they were released. The proportion of fish making sizeable movements increased with increasing recapture size, with about of 20% of larger fish (400–500-mm LCF) making offshore, inter-riverine or coastal movements. Larger fish were primarily caught offshore, whereas smaller fish <~338-mm LCF were exclusively caught in estuarine and freshwater habitats. Recruitment of juveniles into estuarine and lower freshwater riverine habitats occurred from about February. There was temporal variability of recruitment of mangrove jack into some river systems and their relative abundance within the river system was inversely proportional to the distance from the sea. Overfishing of juveniles when they are concentrated in inshore areas could have adverse implications for mangrove jack stocks.

Keywords: Great Barrier Reef, lutjanids, migration, snappers.

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