AEI prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00251

Site fidelity of farmed gilthead seabream Sparus aurata escapees in a coastal environment of the Adriatic Sea

Tanja Šegvić-Bubić*, Pablo Arechavala-Lopez, Ivan Vučić, Igor Talijančić, Leon Grubišić, Iva Žužul, Žarko Kovač

*Email: tanja.segvic@izor.hr

ABSTRACT: A small escape incident of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) tagged with acoustic transmitters (N = 25) from a commercial farm located in a coastal bay of the eastern Adriatic Sea was simulated to enable evaluation of recapture strategies and escapee management. Over a three-month monitoring period, tagged individuals showed spatial distribution closely related to fish farms, where 72% and 68% of tagged fish were present at the farm during the second and third weeks of post-release. Upon initial release, escaped seabream had a small total home range (0.142 km2) that encompassed the farm site. Short term residence differed among tagged fish. Few fish (28%) remained in the proximity of the fish farm for longer than one month; most were likely angled or moved outside the acoustic array. Fish that moved elsewhere, have the potential to cause the greatest ecological and genetic impact as they likely will be the quickest to adapt to natural conditions. Considering the capture impact of the limited recreational fishery on this small scale escape event, fish recapture by this type of fishery within two weeks of escape could be feasible and is highly recommended.