Quick fix GPS technology highlights risk to dugongs moving between protected areas

Zeh, Daniel R., Heupel, Michelle R., Hamann, Mark, Limpus, Colin J., and Marsh, Helene (2016) Quick fix GPS technology highlights risk to dugongs moving between protected areas. Endangered Species Research, 30. pp. 37-44.

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Incidental capture in fishing gear is the most serious threat to the survival of many species of marine mammals. Fisheries closures developed to protect marine mammals have tended to concentrate on areas of high marine mammal density. Movement corridors have generally been less protected because they are often unknown and difficult to detect. Seagrass meadows in Moreton and Hervey Bays in south-eastern Queensland support significant populations of dugongs Dugong dugon. Pedigree analysis based on genetic and ancillary biological data indicates that there is substantial movement of dugongs between these bays, which are separated by open surf coasts where dugongs are occasionally caught in inshore shark nets set for the protection of bathers. This bycatch suggests that the dugong movement corridor between Moreton and Hervey Bays is close to the coast, a hypothesis not confirmed by nearly 30 yr of dugong satellite tracking using platform transmitter terminal (PTT) technology. Twenty-nine dugongs were captured in seagrass habitats on the eastern banks of Moreton Bay in 2012-2014 and were fitted with Quick Fix GPS and acoustic transmitters. One animal was captured and tracked twice. Four dugongs were tracked moving from Moreton Bay to Hervey Bay covering distances of 278-338 km over 5-9 d; 1 dugong made the return journey. Three of the 4 animals travelled along and very close to the coast; the exact track of the fourth animal is uncertain. These results suggest that dugongs would benefit from netting closures that extend beyond seagrass meadows.

Item ID: 45450
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1613-4796
Keywords: dugong, fishery closures, acoustic, satellite, telemetry, quick fix GPS
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Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.

Funders: Australian Marine Mammal Centre (AMMC), Australian Institute of Marine Science at James Cook University (AIMS@JCU), James Cook University
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2016 07:40
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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