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Open Access Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 62(6)

Pop-up archival satellite tagging of Carcharias taurus: movements and depth/temperature-related use of south-eastern Australian waters

N. M. Otway A B and M. T. Ellis A

A Industry and Investment NSW, Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, Taylors Beach, NSW 2315, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: nick.otway@industry.nsw.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 62(6) 607-620 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF10139
Submitted: 15 June 2010  Accepted: 13 December 2010   Published: 24 June 2011

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Knowledge of migratory movements and depth/temperature-related use of coastal waters by sharks can lead to more sustainable fisheries and assist in managing the long-term conservation of those species now considered threatened. Pop-up archival satellite tags (PATs) provide an alternative to conventional tagging for documenting migratory movements. This study focussed on the migratory movements of Carcharias taurus, a critically endangered shark found along the east coast of Australia. From October 2003 to July 2008, 15 C. taurus individuals were tagged with PATs with varying deployments (60–150 days) and acoustic tags linked to an acoustic monitoring system providing accurate geo-location. Distances moved by C. taurus individuals ranged from 5 to 1550 km and varied according to sex and season. Migrations north and south were punctuated en route by occupation of sites for varying periods of time. The deepest depth recorded was 232 m off South West Rocks on the New South Wales mid-north coast. On average, C. taurus males and females spent at least 71% of their time in waters <40 m and 95% of their time in waters 17–24°C. By mainly occupying inshore waters, C. taurus is exposed to potentially adverse fishing-related interactions that may be difficult to mitigate.

Additional keywords: acoustic tagging, tag performance.


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