Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 6, pp 1349–1360 | Cite as

Permanent aggregations of a pelagic predator at shallow seamounts

Original Paper


The effectiveness of marine reserves for highly mobile reef fishes such as jacks and trevallies is normally assumed to be small, even though we generally lack the understanding of their long-term movement patterns. In this work, we combined the analysis of multi-year landings and underwater visual census with acoustic telemetry to investigate the long-term movement patterns (up to 4 years) of almaco jack, Seriola rivoliana, a large reef top predator, in one protected and one unprotected offshore shallow seamount in the Azores, central North Atlantic. Although the analysis of visual census and landing data suggests a pronounced seasonal pattern of occurrence, we found that tagged fish were almost continuously detected at the seamounts for up to four consecutive years. Some individuals showed a few long periods of undetection of 1–2 months in the Formigas reserve, mostly in the fall and winter. Mobility within this seamount increased during spring and summer, and geostrophic current speed was negatively correlated with detection probability. Overall, the acoustic telemetry results showed that adult almaco jacks were resident year-round, refuting the traditional view that these fish are essentially migratory and a seasonal occurrence in the Azores. Given the intrinsic vulnerability of resident fish to fishing, our results highlight the importance of protecting these sites in order to preserve these mature fish aggregations with high reproductive potential.

Supplementary material

227_2014_2423_MOESM1_ESM.tif (2.9 mb)
Proportion of valid detections of tagged almaco jack (Seriola rivoliana) by season on the deep water acoustic receiver at Formigas, from August 2008 to September 2010. Numbers on top of columns represent number of different fish (tags) detected (TIFF 2996 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Oceanography and Fisheries, Institute of Marine ResearchUniversity of the AzoresHortaPortugal

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