Fisheries Research Articles

Does a spatiotemporal closure to fishing Chrysophrys auratus (Sparidae) spawning aggregations also protect individuals during migration?

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences


Print: 0706-652X Electronic: 1205-7533


fishery management, marine protected areas, spawning aggregation, recreational fisheries, migration


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


Understanding migration dynamics of fishes that aggregate-spawn is critical if spatiotemporal closures to fishing are expected to protect them. Concern over fishing of Chrysophrys auratus spawning aggregations in embayments near a west Australian city led to an annual 4-month spatial fishing closure. However, the extent to which it protects fish migrating to and from aggregations is unclear. Acoustic telemetry demonstrated a bimodal pattern of entry to and departure from the main embayment via only one of several pathways. Among years, 33%–56% of fish occurred in the pathway prior to the closure, but most left before it ceased. Fish were detected within the closure in multiple but not always consecutive years. Variation in migration timing and aggregation philopatry may alter capture risk, but pre- and postspawning migratory fish are fished in the main pathway and adjacent reefs, which would presumably impact spawning aggregation biomass. Assessment of this would assist in understanding whether expansion of the closure’s spatial and temporal limits is necessary to ensure spawning biomass or whether current management is sufficient.