Outmigration and movement of tagged coral reef fish in a marine fishery reserve in Jamaica
- Between December, 1996 and May, 1998, a total of 6,947 coral reef fish were marked and released within the Discovery Bay Fishery Reserve, on the north coast of Jamaica. Nearly 6,000 recaptures have been obtained (including multiple recaptures of the same individuals). Most recaptured fish were caught in the project’s traps, fishing within the fishery reserve, and re-released. Additionally, several hundred fish have been returned by fishers operating in adjacent areas. The Discovery Bay Fishery Reserve is comprised of 27.5 ha of backreef and seagrass beds with few patches of live coral and is mostly less than 2 m deep. It serves principally as a nursery habitat for coral reef fish. However, the mark-and-recapture program has shown that some species remain resident in the reserve for extended periods and biomasses of these species appear to have increased substantially. Other species move out of the reserve with increasing size and two species of parrot fish have moved substantial distances (tens of km) along the narrow northern shelf of Jamaica. It is concluded that for most species the fishery reserve serves to delay the age and size at recruitment to the trap and spear fisheries and is therefore enhancing catches in the fisheries in adjacent waters. Species which take up residence in the reserve have the potential to supplement the heavily depleted spawning stock biomasses.
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- Book Chapter
- Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute