Localised residency and inter-annual fidelity to coastal foraging areas may place sea bass at risk to local depletion
Doyle, Thomas K.
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Doyle, Thomas K. Haberlin, Damien; Clohessy, Jim; Bennison, Ashley; Jessopp, Mark (2017). Localised residency and inter-annual fidelity to coastal foraging areas may place sea bass at risk to local depletion. Scientific Reports 7 ,
For many marine migratory fish, comparatively little is known about the movement of individuals rather than the population. Yet, such individual-based movement data is vitally important to understand variability in migratory strategies and fidelity to foraging locations. A case in point is the economically important European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) that inhabits coastal waters during the summer months before migrating offshore to spawn and overwinter. Beyond this broad generalisation we have very limited information on the movements of individuals at coastal foraging grounds. We used acoustic telemetry to track the summer movements and seasonal migrations of individual sea bass in a large tidally and estuarine influenced coastal environment. We found that the vast majority of tagged sea bass displayed long-term residency (mean, 167 days) and inter-annual fidelity (93% return rate) to specific areas. We describe individual fish home ranges of 3 km or less, and while fish clearly had core resident areas, there was movement of fish between closely located receivers. The combination of interannual fidelity to localised foraging areas makes sea bass very susceptible to local depletion; however, the designation of protected areas for sea bass may go a long way to ensuring the sustainability of this species.