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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 571:153-168 (2017)  -  DOI:

Fish movements within community-managed fishery reserve networks: an acoustic survey of Lethrinus harak in Vanuatu

Marc Léopold1,2,*, O. Chateau3, H. Gabriault1,3, J. Ham2, S. Andréfouët1, J. Raubani2, P. Dumas1,2

1UMR ENTROPIE (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) - University of La Réunion - CNRS), 98848 Noumea cedex, New Caledonia
2Fisheries Department of Vanuatu, Port-Vila, Vanuatu
3Laboratory of Marine Biology and Ecology, Aquarium des lagons, 98807 Noumea, New Caledonia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Acoustic telemetry has been increasingly used for monitoring fish movements at different spatial and temporal scales. In this study, passive telemetry and fine-scale habitat data were integrated for the first time to investigate the relevance of community fishery reserves (CFRs) for managing reef fish resources. In Efaté Island (Vanuatu), 38 thumbprint emperors Lethrinus harak (Lethrinidae) were tagged at 7 sites and tracked between April 2011 and February 2012 using an acoustic array of 16 receivers. The survey area extended over 11.3 km2 of fringing reef in 3 coastal community tenures that included 3 small CFRs. Habitats were mapped using very high resolution satellite imagery and ground-truthing. Thirty fish were detected for up to 229 d (median = 153 d). Six geographical groups were identified among 21 resident fish. These groups showed strong fidelity to small sites (116 to 763 m) that were located in reserves and fished areas, across community tenures, and across 12 habitat types. Overall, 42 excursions were detected at several hundreds to thousands of meters from the fidelity sites along contiguous fringing reefs, across habitat types, and across boundaries of CFRs and community tenures. The estimated home range size of L. harak ranged from 116 to 3979 m (median: 763 m) and was highly varied within fish groups. We concluded that home range size and behavioral plasticity of L. harak limit the effectiveness of small individual CFRs for protecting this species. Networks of CFRs would be more effective but require management arrangements between neighbor communities.

KEY WORDS: Acoustic telemetry · Fish movement · Community-managed area · Fishery reserve · Lethrinus harak · Vanuatu · Coral reef

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Cite this article as: Léopold M, Chateau O, Gabriault H, Ham J, Andréfouët S, Raubani J, Dumas P (2017) Fish movements within community-managed fishery reserve networks: an acoustic survey of Lethrinus harak in Vanuatu. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 571:153-168.

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