Movement patterns of four coral reef fish species in a fragmented habitat in New Caledonia implications for the design of marine protected area networks

Chateau, O.; Wantiez, L.

ICES Journal of Marine Science 66. 1. (January)


ISSN/ISBN: 1054-3139
DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn165
Accession: 037445157

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Acoustic telemetry was used to examine the patterns of fish movements between a marine reserve and two unprotected reefs separated by large areas of lagoon soft bottoms (900-2000 m) in the South Lagoon Marine Park of New Caledonia. Four commercial fish species (Epinephelus maculatus, Plectropomus leopardus, Chlorurus microrhinos, and Scarus ghobban) were studied for 17 months (45 fish). Nine fish (20%) were detected on reefs other than the reef onto which they were released. Four patterns of inter-reef movement were identified during the survey, including home range relocations, movements larger than the scale of the study, many inter-reef movements within the study area, and punctual excursions outside the daily home range. The information gathered in this study demonstrates the ability of the fish to carry out medium-scale movements in a fragmented habitat. Consequently, the effectiveness of the reserve to protect the entire population is probably limited for these species. Because all the identified patterns implied at least one movement across the reserve boundaries, our results support the hypothesis that the Laregnere Marine Reserve, part of the South Lagoon Marine Park, could benefit the adjacent fished area through spillover