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The migration patterns of bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) along the Atlantic coast determined from tag recoveries


The migration patterns of bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) along the Atlantic coast determined from tag recoveries



Fishery Bulletin 104(4): 9-70



ISSN/ISBN: 0090-0656

Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) were tagged and released in Atlantic coastal areas between Massachusetts and Florida from 1963 through 2003 as part of a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) project and a volunteer program sponsored by the American Littoral Society (ALS). A total of 15,699 bluefish were tagged by NMFS and 20,398 by ALS volunteers and 4.3% (1075 NMFS tags and 464 ALS tags) were recaptured and reported. Time-at-large was limited; 65.8% of the recaptured tags were returned within two months of tagging, although nineteen of the returned tags remained at large for two years or more. Tag returns indicated seasonal migrations of fish between the Middle Atlantic Bight and Florida. Three groups of bluefish are proposed for Atlantic coastal waters on the basis of tag return data and are defined by the seasonal occurrence of fish between 30 and 45 cm fork length. The northern group occupied the area from Massachusetts to Delaware between late spring and late fall. Bluefish in the central region between Maryland and North Carolina represented a combination of seasonal transient and resident fish, as did the southern group in Florida. Mixing occurs among all three groups; and larger fish (>45 cm) spend winters in offshore areas. Estimates of von Bertalanffy growth parameters from tagging data were comparable to scale-based estimates. Swimming speeds between point of release and recapture averaged 2.6 km per day, and seasonal spikes greater than 5 km per day corresponded with periods of migration in spring and autumn.

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Accession: 018173189

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Related references

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