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Brazilian Journal of Oceanography

Print version ISSN 1679-8759On-line version ISSN 1982-436X

Abstract

FRANCA, Aline Rocha  and  OLAVO, George. Indirect signals of spawning aggregations of three commercial reef fish species on the continental shelf of Bahia, east coast of Brazil. Braz. j. oceanogr. [online]. 2015, vol.63, n.3, pp.289-301. ISSN 1679-8759.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-87592015087506303.

Lutjanus analis (Mutton snapper), Lutjanus jocu(Dog snapper) and Mycteroperca bonaci (Black grouper) are reef fishes of high commercial value, and are among the principal exploited reef resources on the eastern and northeastern coast of Brazil. These species share the habit of forming transient spawning aggregations, predictable in time and space, which leaves them particularly vulnerable. The present study aimed to obtain indirect indicators of periods and places of spawning aggregations for these species, based on the exploratory analysis of available data on commercial catches and fishing efforts in Southern Bahia. Line fishery landings data were monitored in 12 locations in the region, and catch records of Mutton snapper (1320 landings), Dog snapper (654) and Black grouper (1162) were analyzed. A strategy was developed for exploratory analysis of monthly CPUE variation and individual distribution of CPUE per trip. The results showed the occurrence of aggregations in 26 specific sites, with values of relative abundance far above the annual mean, during spring/summer and autumn/winter. The occurrence of these anomalous catches was validated with the fishermen responsible for respective fishing trips. Additional studies are needed to confirm spawning activity at these sites. Analysis of inter-annual variation suggests a decreasing trend in relative abundance of Black grouper and Mutton snapper, possibly associated with unregulated fishing of spawning aggregations.

Keywords : Mycteroperca bonaci; Lutjanus analis; Lutjanus jocu; Spawning aggregation; Artisanal reef fisheries; snapper.

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