Volume 71

Quantifying Connectivity Between Habitats and Fisheries to Influence Management  

Jacob W. Brownscombe;Aaron J. Adams;Lucas P. Griffin;John Hunt;Alejandro Acosta;Danielle Morley;Ross Boucek;Michael Power;Steven J. Cooke;Andy J. Danylchuk
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 177-178

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


Animal movement frequently occurs across broad spatial scales in marine ecosystems, and therefore individuals often form connections between multiple habitats and fisheries. This has important implications for ecosystem function as well as habitat and fisheries management, however it is challenging to quantify in large, open systems with highly mobile fishes. We used a combination of acoustic telemetry and fin tissue stable isotope analysis to characterize the connectivity by Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) amongst shallow seagrass flats, coral reefs, and shipwrecks in South Florida. Permit support two very different recreational fisheries in these habitats, and therefore the level of movement by individuals amongst them is of interest for fisheries and habitat management. The two sampling approaches provided strong, complimentary evidence of habitat connectivity by Permit, who moved frequently between seagrass flats to forage and coral reefs to spawn. This information quickly influenced fisheries management practices in Florida, resulting in an extension to the harvest prohibition period to protect Permit during their spawning season. The value of these research approaches will be discussed, along with the factors that led to effective knowledge mobilization into fisheries management practices.

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