Squaretail coralgrouper (Plectropomus areolatus) were captured and tagged at a fish spawning aggregation (FSA) site with conventional and acoustic tags to assess their vulnerability to fishing and spatial dynamics during reproductive periods. Males outnumbered females in catch and, on average, were larger than females. Findings revealed a high vulnerability to fishing, particularly during reproductive periods, and most fish were recaptured within the 5-month spawning season and within 10-12 km of the aggregation site. Individual and sex-specific variability in movement to, and residency times at, the FSA site indicates that individual monthly spawning aggregations represent subsets of the total reproductive population. Some individuals appeared to move along a common migratory corridor to reach the FSA site. Sex-specific behavioral differences, particularly longer residency times, appear to increase the vulnerability of reproductively active males to fishing, particularly within a FSA, which could reduce reproductive output. Both fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data indicate that only males were present within the first month of aggregation. The combined results indicate that reproductively active P. areolatus are highly vulnerable to fishing and that FSAs and migratory corridors of reproductively active fish should be incorporated into marine protected areas. The capture of P. areolatus during reproductive periods should be restricted as part of a comprehensive management strategy.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2008|