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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 688:113-131 (2022)  -  DOI:

Use of acoustic telemetry to evaluate fish movement, habitat use, and protection effectiveness of a coral reef no-take zone (NTZ) in Brazil

Daniel Lino Lippi1,*, Mariana Sofia Coxey2, Jay R. Rooker3,4, Sérgio Magalhães Rezende5, Michael A. Dance6, Ana Lídia Bertoldi Gaspar1, Mauro Maida1, Beatrice Padovani Ferreira1

1Department of Oceanography, Federal University of Pernambuco, 50740-550 Recife, Brazil
2MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, ISPA-Instituto Universitário, 1149-041 Lisbon, Portugal
3Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77553, USA
4Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
5National Center for Research and Conservation of Marine Biodiversity of the Northeast (CEPENE), 55578-000 Tamandaré, Brazil
6Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Movement is a key factor that shapes the distribution and structure of fish populations and influences the extent of the benefits provided by conservation and management measures, such as the implementation of marine no-take zones (NTZs). We used visual surveys and acoustic telemetry to investigate density and movement of 2 Brazilian endemic and highly targeted reef fish species inside and outside a coral reef NTZ, and subsequently inferred the effectiveness of the NTZ for protecting these species. To do so, visual surveys were performed on protected and unprotected reefs between 2016 and 2017. Moreover, 20 gray parrotfish Sparisoma axillare and 9 Brazilian snapper Lutjanus alexandrei were tagged with acoustic transmitters and passively monitored from December 2016 to October 2017. For both species, fish densities were significantly higher within the NTZ. Also, both species presented a high residence index over the short term, indicating they were full-time residents of the monitored area until detections were permanently lost. The absence of detections may indicate relocation to deeper reefs, predation, or fishing mortality when fish left the NTZ. Home ranges were small (0.10 to 0.45 km2), and both species presented spatially segregated subgroups within the populations. On average, the percentage of the home ranges within the NTZ was 88% for S. axillare and 95% for L. alexandrei. The results showed that small NTZs that are important to part of the life cycle of a target species are an effective measure to conserve reef fish populations, and also highlight the importance of fisheries management outside NTZs.

KEY WORDS: Acoustic monitoring · Marine protected area · Sparisoma axillare · Lutjanus alexandrei · Parrotfish · Snapper · Home range · Spatial ecology · Reserve effect

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Cite this article as: Lippi DL, Coxey MS, Rooker JR, Rezende SM and others (2022) Use of acoustic telemetry to evaluate fish movement, habitat use, and protection effectiveness of a coral reef no-take zone (NTZ) in Brazil. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 688:113-131.

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