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The following schedule is subject to change (as of October 11, 2016). Please check back for updates. For more information about this meeting, go to: www.seafwa.org/conferences/2016
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Monday, October 17 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Fisheries. LDWF Shark Electronic Tagging Program: Determining Vital Habitats of Poorly Understood Species in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

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AUTHORS: Jennifer A. McKinney, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Brett Falterman, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

ABSTRACT: In 2012 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries initiated a Shark Electronic Tagging Program to better understand habitat use of commercially important and protected species of Elasmobranches off the coast of Louisiana. Worldwide many populations of sharks are in decline due to human impact, so effective management is vital for conservation. This study focuses on three species of conservation and management concern: the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini; n=28), the whale shark (Rhincodon typus; n=16), and the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus; n=15). Pop-up satellite archival tags (PSAT) and smart-position-only tags (SPOT) were used to examine habitat use and address data needs identified by management agencies. Scalloped hammerhead tag data suggest a strong affinity for shelf-edge habitats along Louisiana’s coastline within a narrow depth contour. Whale shark seasonal utilization distributions demonstrate a distinct preference for north-central Gulf of Mexico waters during warmer months and southward movement into the southern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea in cooler months, documenting distinct seasonal shifts and connectivity into the southern GOM and Caribbean Sea. Tags deployed on blacktip sharks were part of a pilot study to develop methodologies for assessing post-release survival. Future studies on blacktips will examine stress physiology and habitat use. This collaborative research focuses on proactive fisheries management for coastal and pelagic sharks.

Monday October 17, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Riverview A

Attendees (9)