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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 674:173-188 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13799

Spatial ecology of Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus in Mediterranean deep-water environments: implications for designing no-take marine reserves

Maria Vigo1,*, Joan Navarro1, Ivan Masmitja1,2, Jacopo Aguzzi1,3, José Antonio García1, Guiomar Rotllant1, Nixon Bahamón1, Joan B. Company1

1Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2SARTI Research Group, Electronics Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 08800 Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
3Stazione Zoologica di Napoli (SZN), Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples, Italy
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus is one of the most important marine resources for European fisheries. However, overfishing has caused the stocks to decline over the last decades, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea. The implementation of no-take marine reserves could change these current trends, thus achieving a more sustainable fishery. The effectiveness of no-take reserves depends on optimal size design, and because of this, new behavioural data on the spatial ecology of the species are of pivotal importance. Here, for the first time, we investigated the spatial movements and daily activity patterns of Norway lobster in a deep-water (315-475 m depth) no-take marine reserve of 10 km2 in the continental slope of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, by combining acoustic tracking and tagging-recapture procedures. The results revealed the territorial behaviour of Norway lobster, centred in small exclusive individual areas where most displacements took place at midday. We found that once settled in a place, their home ranges reached approximate sizes of 17.75 to 736.25 m2, suggesting that no-take marine areas focussed on recovering Norway lobster populations do not require large extents to be effective. Tag-recapture data indicated minimal spillover of biomass, implying that Norway lobsters are site settled and do not perform large movements. Future studies on larval spread and recruitment would be necessary to focus on the possible spillover benefit for fisheries. The acoustic telemetry system used in the present experiment effectively revealed the range of movement of individuals, and thus represents a promising monitoring tool to assess no-take marine reserve sizes and reciprocal spacing for deep-water demersal resources.


KEY WORDS: Resources management · Fisheries · No-take marine reserves · Home range · Acoustic telemetry · Nephrops norvegicus


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Cite this article as: Vigo M, Navarro J, Masmitja I, Aguzzi J and others (2021) Spatial ecology of Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus in Mediterranean deep-water environments: implications for designing no-take marine reserves. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 674:173-188. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13799

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