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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 7:243-247 (2009)  -  DOI:

Movement patterns of goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara around southeast Cuba: implications for conservation

F. Pina-Amargós1,*, G. González-Sansón2

1Centro de Investigaciones de Ecosistemas Costeros, Cayo Coco, Morón, Ciego de Ávila, CP 69 400, Cuba
2Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Calle 16 No. 118 entre 1ra y 3ra, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba

ABSTRACT: Goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara is the largest grouper in the western hemisphere. Recently, populations have experienced dramatic declines that have become a major cause of concern for scientists and conservationists. It is essential for conservationists and managers to understand the species’ movement patterns if marine protected areas are to be effectively designed. We present results of goliath grouper movements following conventional tagging within and adjacent to the Jardines de la Reina Archipelago, which includes the Caribbean’s largest marine reserve. Five individuals were tagged in 2001 and tracked until 2003, with 541 underwater resightings through summer 2002 at the tagging sites. No goliath grouper were resighted after July 2002 at Jardines de la Reina diving sites. In February 2002, 1 individual was caught 36 km northeast of the tagging site. In August 2002, a second tagged specimen was caught 77 km southeast of the tagging site, while in August 2003, 2 individuals were captured 168 km southeast of the tagging site, at a possible spawning aggregation site. All recaptures took place outside reserve boundaries. We assess these findings and their implications for goliath grouper conservation in Cuba.

KEY WORDS: Goliath grouper · Epinephelus itajara · Tag-recapture · Conservation · Marine protected areas

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Cite this article as: Pina-Amargós F, González-Sansón G (2009) Movement patterns of goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara around southeast Cuba: implications for conservation. Endang Species Res 7:243-247.

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