Mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus) are an iconic recreational, indigenous, and commercial fishery species with declining numbers across some parts of their range, with relatively little known about their movements. During the Austral summers and autumns from 2011 to 2014, we deployed 19 pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) on mature mulloway at an aggregation site within the Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP), to examine their movement patterns. Twelve tags provided data from deployments ranging from 8 to 110 days including five tags that gathered data over autumn and seven over summer. Five of the seven mulloway tagged during summer likely remained in the vicinity of the tagging location and hence within or in close proximity to marine-protected areas (MPAs) over summer; however, relatively large horizontal movements were observed over autumn for most fish, including a maximum net displacement of ~ 550 km. The median pop-up distance from deployment was 51 and 212 km for summer-and autumn-tagged fish, respectively. Depths encountered by the tagged mulloway ranged from the surface to 56.5 m deep. Our study provides new information on the dispersal of a poorly understood fish species which could aid their conservation.
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We thank the following for their support during this project: Teddy Edwards, Brian Quema, Bubbles and other members of Yalata Land Management and the Yalata community, Blair Middlemiss, Wayne Ragless, Amanda Woods, Geoff Rogers, Andrew Brooks, Cindy Strachan, Darren Hoad, Kris Ellis, Danielle Manetti, Harley Donnithorne, Paul Lehmann, Colin Bailey, Hall Print and Wildlife Computers.
Conflict of interest
This study has no potential conflict of interest.
Animal ethics approval was via: Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Animal Ethics Application 19/11 and the University of Adelaide S-2009-129. This project was funded by Yalata Land Management, Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources—Alinytjara Wilurara, the University of Adelaide, the Australian Research Council (FT100100767) (awarded to BMG) and the Nature Foundation.
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Barnes, T.C., Rogers, P.J., Wolf, Y. et al. Dispersal of an exploited demersal fish species (Argyrosomus japonicus, Sciaenidae) inferred from satellite telemetry. Mar Biol 166, 125 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-019-3575-4