Brief Note

Long-distance migration of the rock lobster Palinurus delagoae off South Africa and Moçambique


Abstract

Long-distance migration patterns of deep-water rock lobster Palinurus delagoae were investigated using tagrecapture data obtained over a period of 6 years (1995–2000). Of 7 654 animals tagged, 363 (4.7%) were recovered from South African and seven (0.1%) from Moçambican waters. Lobsters remained at large for up to 3.2 years and migrated distances of up to 495 km. Some 48.3% of juvenile lobsters (carapace length <65 mm) but only 2.1% of larger lobsters migrated further than 20 km. Movements were mostly north-eastwards (91.7% of migrants), for both sexes, and the migration rate of the fastest 5% of migrants was 0.43 km day−1. P. delagoae seems to have evolved long-distance, counter-current migrations as a retention mechanism to maintain its populations off both South Africa and Moçambique. The resource needs to be managed jointly between the two countries.

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