Behaviour and distribution of striped marlin within the southwest Pacific Ocean were investigated using electronic tagging data collected from 2005–2008. A continuous-time correlated random-walk Kalman filter was used to integrate double-tagging data exhibiting variable error structures into movement trajectories composed of regular time-steps. This state-space trajectory integration approach improved longitude and latitude error distributions by 38.5 km and 22.2 km respectively. Using these trajectories as inputs, a behavioural classification model was developed to infer when, and where, ‘transiting’ and ‘area-restricted’ (ARB) pseudo-behavioural states occurred. ARB tended to occur at shallower depths (108±49 m) than did transiting behaviours (127±57 m). A 16 day post-release period of diminished ARB activity suggests that patterns of behaviour were affected by the capture and/or tagging events, implying that tagged animals may exhibit atypical behaviour upon release. The striped marlin in this study dove deeper and spent greater time at ≥200 m depth than those in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. As marlin reached tropical latitudes (20–21°S) they consistently reversed directions, increased swimming speed and shifted to transiting behaviour. Reversals in the tropics also coincided with increases in swimming depth, including increased time ≥250 m. Our research provides enhanced understanding of the behavioural ecology of striped marlin. This has implications for the effectiveness of spatially explicit population models and we demonstrate the need to consider geographic variation when standardizing CPUE by depth, and provide data to inform natural and recreational fishing mortality parameters.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 14-June-2011
Author(s): Sippel T., Holdsworth J., Dennis T., Montgomery J.