Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 2 (2007)

Emigration and retention of Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) in a central western Mediterranean marine protected area

Maria Cristina Follesa
Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari , Italy

Danila Cuccu
Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari , Italy

Rita Cannas
Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari , Italy

Andrea Sabatini
Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari , Italy

Angelo Cau
Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari , Italy


This study describes the results obtained by applying the Arnason Schwartz multistate mark-recapture model to eight years of data collected in and around a small no-fishing marine protected area (MPA; 4 km2) in the central western Mediterranean. From 1997 to 2004, a total of 4044 specimens of Palinurus elephas (Fabr., 1787) were tagged and 317 recaptured. The most parsimonious model which best explained the data variability was that of a temporally constant rate of apparent survival and movement in each of the two strata. The absence of any temporal influence in the apparent survival rate inside the no-take area suggested that spillover and mortality are constant for each period of the study. The lower apparent survival rate in surrounding zones than inside the MPA (0.26 ± 0.04 (SE) vs 0.94 ± 0.03 (SE)) is presumed to be a function of fishing effort. A continuous movement of P. elephas across the boundary of the small MPA was also tested. This information on retention of lobsters in the MPA contributes to our understanding of the effect of introducing MPAs into a managed commercial fishery system.


multistate models; survival estimation; movements; spiny lobster; central western Mediterranean

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