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Population dynamics and movements of Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, in the Parnaíba Delta Protected Area, Brazil: challenges for local fishery management planning

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Abstract

Fishery management in Brazil has many challenges, including the engagement of fishers, building institutional (NGO, university, etc.) relationships to carry out research and provide key data for managers, and strengthening the capacity to articulate effective management strategies (policy institution). Here we report on recent work to address some of these challenges for the Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) fishery in the Parnaiba Delta Protected Area. These include meetings to create inter-sector communication, citizen science and ethnobiology to support data collection and biological sampling, satellite tagging to discern tarpon movements, and the first data-limited stock assessment. The research occurred between September 2018 and April 2020 in the Parnaíba Delta and adjacent marine area, specifically in the Canárias Islands (MA), Pedra do Sal (PI), and Bitupitá (CE). Gonadosomatic indices (GSI > 5%) of female tarpon suggested that tarpon migrate to the Parnaíba Delta to spawn in the dry season (July–December). These GSI findings corresponded with the ethnobiology results in which the fishers confirmed more intense fishing effort in the dry periods due in part to the added value of the gonads. Satellite-tagged tarpon remained close to the Buraco and Boca da Barra fishery areas, thus, close to the Parnaíba Delta region. The information collected here will enhance the collaborative formulation of an unprecedented management plan for the tarpon fishery in this region.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are not openly available due to reasons of sensitivity, e.g., human data, and are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request (include information on the data’s location, e.g., in a controlled access repository where relevant).

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Correspondence to Cezar A. F. Fernandes.

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Fernandes, C.A.F., Cunha, F.E.A., Silva, C.E.L.S. et al. Population dynamics and movements of Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, in the Parnaíba Delta Protected Area, Brazil: challenges for local fishery management planning. Environ Biol Fish 106, 449–468 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-022-01307-8

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