Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Insights into movement behaviour of snapper (Chrysophrys auratus, Sparidae) from a large acoustic array

A. J. Fowler A C , C. Huveneers B and M. T. Lloyd B

A South Australian Research and Development Institute, PO Box 120, Henley Beach, SA 5022, Australia.

B School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: anthony.fowler@sa.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research - http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF16121
Submitted: 13 April 2016  Accepted: 10 November 2016   Published online: 16 January 2017

Abstract

Snapper is a significant fishery species in Australasia whose movement behaviour remains poorly understood. This was addressed in the present study at the within-region scale using acoustic telemetry in the Gulf St Vincent, South Australia. Over 3 years from May 2011, 54 snapper were monitored throughout ~160 km2 using 41 acoustic receivers. The dispersion of >500 000 detections varied in space and time, reflecting three types of space use, dependent on different types of movement behaviour. One station, near a large shipwreck, accounted for 67.8% of all detections, particularly during winter, when fish were sedentary and site attached. In spring, the fish dispersed throughout the study area to different habitats and, through summer, occupied different larger restricted areas than used in winter. Snapper were highly mobile and demonstrated systematic behaviour at several temporal scales. They moved linear distances of up to ~100 km and could achieve tens of kilometres in a day in episodic movements. Through the year, their activity was distributed across areas of hundreds of square kilometres. The regional spatial management regimen was assessed against this enhanced understanding of movement behaviour. A new marine park sanctuary zone that encompassed the shipwreck was appropriately located, but possible benefits of a nearby spatial spawning closure area appear limited.

Additional keywords: acoustic monitoring, northern Gulf St Vincent, patterns of space use, South Australia.


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