Movement of yellowtail snapper and black grouper in the northern Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as determined by acoustic telemetry

James Lindholm1,2, Les Kaufman3, Steven Miller4, Adam Wagschal2 and Melinda Newville3
1Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
2Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research
3Boston University Marine Program
4National Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina

Conservation
Movement of yellowtail snapper and black grouper in the northern Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as determined by acoustic telemetry(pdf, 432k)
We tagged a total of 14 yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus Bloch 1790) and black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci Poey 1860) inside the Conch Reef Research Only Area (a no-take marine reserve) in the northern Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in November 2001. Both species are heavily exploited in the region. Our objective was to characterize site fidelity and movement behavior along the reef tract to the north and south of the release point. Fishes were collected by baited hook and line from the surface, surgically-tagged with coded-acoustic transmitters, and returned to the reef by snorkelers. Tracking of fish movement behavior was conducted by five acoustic receivers deployed on the seafloor from Davis Reef in the south to Pickles Reef in the north. Fishes were tracked for up to eight months. Results indicated that the majority of signal detections for individual fish from both species were recorded at the two Conch Reef receivers. Limited movement from Conch Reef to Davis Reef was recorded, but no signal detections were recorded at the two sites to the north of Conch Reef. These results suggest that both species show site fidelity to Conch Reef. Future studies will seek to characterize this site fidelity with increased temporal and spatial resolution at Conch Reef.

Key Words: Yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus, black grouper, Mycteroperca bonaci, acoustic telemetry, marine reserves, site fidelity, movement patterns, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

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