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

Spatial and seasonal distribution patterns of juvenile and adult raggedtooth sharks (Carcharias taurus) tagged off the east coast of South Africa

M. L. Dicken A D , A. J. Booth A , M. J. Smale B and G. Cliff C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa.

B Port Elizabeth Museum, PO Box 13147, Humewood, 6013, South Africa.

C Natal Sharks Board, Private Bag 2, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa.

D Corresponding author. Email: raggedtoothshark@bayworld.co.za

Marine and Freshwater Research 58(1) 127-134 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF06018
Submitted: 30 January 2006  Accepted: 23 October 2006   Published: 30 January 2007

Abstract

Understanding the movement patterns of raggedtooth sharks (Carcharias taurus) is crucial in defining habitat use and evaluating the effects of exploitation and anthropogenic activities. Between 1984 and 2004, 1107 C. taurus juveniles (<1.8-m TL) and 2369 C. taurus maturing subadults and adults (>1.8-m TL) were tagged and released along the east coast of South Africa. In total, 125 C. taurus juveniles and 178 C. taurus maturing subadults and adults were recaptured, representing recapture rates of 11.2% and 7.5% respectively. The average distance travelled by juvenile sharks was 18.7 km (95% CI = 10.8–26.6 km). Juvenile sharks displayed site fidelity to summer nursery areas. The average distance travelled by maturing and adult sharks was 342 km (95% CI = 275–409 km). One female shark, however, was recaptured 1897 km from its original release site. The average rate at which pregnant sharks moved south from their gestation to pupping grounds was 2.6 km day–1 (95% CI = 2.04–3.16 km day–1). This study highlights the differences in movement patterns between C. taurus juveniles and adults and suggests philopatric behaviour in both life-history stages.

Additional keywords: life history stages, movement patterns.


Acknowledgements

This work would not have been possible without the cooperation of volunteer anglers from both the Oceanographic Research Institute and Port Elizabeth Museum cooperative tagging programs. In particular we would like to thank R. King, T. Herbst, K. Lennox, M. Spies, M. Peterson, M. Potgieter, A. Hayward, T. Radloff and T. Nazgoole. Special thanks to R. Martin and R. Smit for the development of the Port Elizabeth Museum cooperative shark-tagging program. We thank the Port Elizabeth Museum Director and staff for their support and infrastructure, the National Research Foundation (NRF) and Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) for funding and Bayworld Centre for Research and Education for administering the study. We gratefully acknowledge the data supplied by both the Natal Sharks Board and the Oceanographic Research Institute.


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