Spatial patterns in cohort-specific mortality of red throat emperor, Lethrinus miniatus, on the Great Barrier Reef

Williams, A.J., Mapstone, B.D., and Davies, C.R. (2007) Spatial patterns in cohort-specific mortality of red throat emperor, Lethrinus miniatus, on the Great Barrier Reef. Fisheries Research, 84 (3). pp. 328-337.

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Rates of mortality were estimated for individual cohorts of red throat emperor, Lethrinus miniatus, over a 5-year period (1995–1999) by using fisheries independent catch rates as a measure of abundance. Estimates of mortality were considered to be close approximations of natural mortality (M) as all reefs sampled had been no-take areas for at least 10 years prior to sampling. Cohort-specific mortality rates were compared between individual reefs within the Townsville, Mackay and Storm Cay regions of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and between these regions. Mortality rates were found to be similar between cohorts and between individual reefs within each region but varied substantially between regions. Mortality rates were significantly and consistently higher in the Mackay region than in the Townsville and Storm Cay regions. These spatial patterns have important implications for fisheries sustainability as populations with lower rates of natural mortality may be more vulnerable to over-exploitation than populations with higher rates of natural mortality. Consequently, L. miniatus populations in the Townsville region may be more at risk of over-fishing than populations in the Mackay and Storm Cay regions. The observed regional differences in structure and dynamics of L. miniatus populations needs to be incorporated into fisheries stock assessments for this species if model outputs are to be reliable, and management is to be optimised.

Item ID: 1586
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-6763
Keywords: cohort-specific mortality, natural mortality, spatial variation, red throat emperor, Lethrinidae
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Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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