Mortality and movement of Yellowtail Flounder (Limanda ferruginea) tagged off New England


Wood, Anthony D., and Steven X. Cadrin
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From 2003 to 2006, 44,882 Yellowtail Flounder (Limanda ferruginea) were captured and released with conventional disc tags in the western North Atlantic as part of a cooperative Yellowtail Flounder tagging study. From these releases, 3767 of the tags were recovered. The primary objectives of this tagging program were to evaluate the mortality and large-scale movement of Yellowtail Flounder among 3 stock areas in New England. To explore mortality, survival and recovery rate were estimated from traditional Brownie tag-recovery models fitted to the data with Program MARK. Models were examined with time- and sex-dependent parameters over several temporal scales. The models with a monthly scale for both survival and recovery rate had the best overall fit and returned parameter estimates that were biologically reasonable. Estimates of survival from the tag-recovery models confirm the general magnitude of total mortality derived from age-based stock assessments but indicate that survival was greater for females than for males. In addition to calculating mortality estimates, we examined the pattern of release and recapture locations and revealed frequent movements within stock areas and less frequent movement among stock areas. The collaboration of fishermen and scientists for this study successfully resulted in independent confirmation of previously documented patterns of movement and mortality rates from conventional age-based analyses.