Movement patterns of fish in a Martinique MPA: implications for marine reserve design

Abstract : Marine protected area (MPA) effectiveness is highly dependent on the movement patterns of adult fish. In this study, we selected 3 species, Sparisoma viride (Scaridae), Acanthurus chirurgus (Acanthuridae), and Lutjanus apodus (Lutjanidae), to quantify their home ranges, evaluate their site fidelity, and identify movement patterns in Martinique (14°36’N, 61°32’W). Two complementary tagging methods (external Floy tags and acoustic telemetry) were utilised to monitor movement patterns on different spatial scales from November 2009 to November 2011. We tagged 673 A. chirurgus, 131 L. apodus, and 217 S. viride with Floy tags and 30 A. chirurgus, 47 L. apodus, and 37 S. viride with acoustic tags. The results revealed that several individuals maintained a small preferential site for several months to over a year. Other individuals were able to move long distances (<9 km) outside the MPA over a short period (<3 d) and never returned to the MPA. This study highlights the importance of using multiple tagging methods and long-term observations to improve the monitoring of fish movement relative to MPA design and effectiveness. Despite the fragmented habitat in the studied MPA, the results highlight that small MPAs (9.56 km2) could protect the 3 studied species. This study also demonstrated that natural barriers (large areas of silt and sand) were crossed by some individuals. Our findings provide relevant information on these species that should be utilised to better inform MPA design and decision-making processes, management, and overall MPA effectiveness.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 5, 2016 - 3:47:45 PM
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Jessica Garcia, Yann Rousseau, Hélène Legrand, Gilles Saragoni, Philippe Lenfant. Movement patterns of fish in a Martinique MPA: implications for marine reserve design. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Inter Research, 2014, p. 171-185. ⟨10.3354/meps10940 ⟩. ⟨hal-01270051⟩

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