Tracking the southern Brazilian schools of Mugil liza during reproductive migration using VMS of purse seiners
Ávila Troca,Débora F
Brazilian mullet Mugil liza is a schooling fish that migrates in fall and winter, leaving estuaries and coastal lagoons to spawn in ocean waters. In order to understand the reproductive migration pattern of southern stock along Brazil's coast, we analyzed data collected through the Brazilian Satellite Vessel Tracking Program (Programa Nacional de Rastreamento das Embarcações Pesqueiras por Satélite-PREPS) from 2008 to 2012. The migration period overlaps with the fishing season (May-July) when the licensed purse seine fleet fishes along the southern and southeastern coast of Brazil, motivated to capture mullet by the high value of the roe. During the five fishing seasons the average effort was of 51 active vessels. The average time per season that each vessel navigated in the Speed Compatible with Fishing Operation (SCFO) was 349.3 h, which represented an average of 17% of the total time at sea. From May to July the highest frequency (54%) of SCFO transmissions occurred in June (P < 0.05), and in 95% of the SCFO transmissions the vessels were at depths less than 50 m. The temporal and spatial displacement of the fleet in a south-north direction follows the progression of sea surface temperature SST of 19-21°C (P < 0.05). Most (60%) SCFO signals occurred in areas with this range of temperature, independent of the month and latitude. The south-north displacement of the fleets through the season was similar among the different years (P > 0.05).