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Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 287–302 | Cite as

Nine decades of fish movement research in southern Africa: a synthesis of research and findings from 1928 to 2014

  • J. Q. Maggs
  • P. D. Cowley
Reviews

Abstract

Unprecedented concern over the biological effects of over-exploitation, together with rapid technological advances in biotelemetry, have provided the impetus for much research, on a global scale, into the movement of marine animals. We reviewed 101 marine and estuarine fish movement studies from southern Africa, published from 1928 to 2014, with the aim of synthesising research trends and findings. Trends showed an increasing emphasis on fish movement research in publications in the sub-tropical and warm-temperate biogeographic regions along the south and east coasts of southern Africa. Although 63 % of publications featured only marine studies, research into fine-scale habitat use in estuaries has been on the increase, concomitant with increasing accessibility of biotelemetry. Overall, 26 families were identified in the surveyed literature with regionally endemic sparids featuring in 32 % of the publications. Ten movement themes were identified in the surveyed literature, including broad-scale movement patterns, which featured in 68 % of studies, followed by fine-scale habitat usage (33 %) and protected areas (26 %). The most prominent phenomenon, emerging from this research, is that of partial migration, which describes the occurrence of resident and migratory behaviour within a coexisting animal population. Substantial progress has also been made in unravelling the complexities of fine-scale habitat usage in marine reserves and in estuaries. While this knowledge has enabled more effective management of South Africa’s multi-user, multi-species fisheries, focus should now be directed at improving our understanding of the commonalities in movement behaviour, the associated driving forces behind this behaviour and the nature of movement across reserve boundaries.

Keywords

Biotelemetry Fish movement Fish tagging Fish tracking Mark-recapture Fish movement research 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thank you to the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), for providing the means to conduct this research. The researchers who have contributed their tagging data to centralised databases and the members of the public who regularly report recaptured fish are gratefully acknowledged. Thank you to Stuart Dunlop for assistance with extracting data from the ORICFTP database and to Marinel Janse van Rensburg for assistance with artwork. Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for constructive comments.

Supplementary material

11160_2016_9425_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (146 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 145 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oceanographic Research InstituteDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries ScienceRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.South African Institute for Aquatic BiodiversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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