Evaluating the Efficacy of Trawl Exclusion Zones by Estimating Local Atka Mackerel Abundance and Movement Patterns in the Central and Eastern Aleutian Islands
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Evaluating the Efficacy of Trawl Exclusion Zones by Estimating Local Atka Mackerel Abundance and Movement Patterns in the Central and Eastern Aleutian Islands

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  • Journal Title:
    Marine and Coastal Fisheries
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  • Description:
    Atka Mackerel Pleurogrammus monopterygius is the most abundant commercially exploited groundfish in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. It is also the predominant prey of the endangered Steller sea lion Eumetopias jubatus in the Aleutians Islands range. In 1992, trawl exclusion zones (TEZs) that ranged from 10 to 20 nautical miles were established around rookeries to protect Steller sea lion prey abundance. This study examined the efficacy of the TEZs by estimating the movement and local abundance (10–20 nautical miles) of Atka Mackerel inside and outside of these zones using an integrated tagging model that incorporated independent data for tagging survival, recruitment, and tag reporting rates. Atka Mackerel were tagged, released, and recovered from 2000 to 2006 at four Aleutian Island locales, from both inside and outside of the TEZs. Atka Mackerel local abundance and their movement patterns across these harvest boundaries were estimated for all the study areas inside and outside the TEZs, and local exploitation rate by the fishery was calculated for each area open to fishing outside the TEZ boundary. In areas with high Atka Mackerel abundance and little movement from inside to outside the protection zones (e.g., Seguam Pass and Kiska Island), the TEZs were expected to work well to preserve the prey field for Steller sea lions. In areas of low Atka Mackerel abundance and frequent movement from the inside to the outside of the protection zone (e.g., Amchitka Island), the TEZs were expected to be less effective. Our study indicated that TEZs can be effective for preserving prey fields of Atka Mackerel for Steller sea lions, but each study area needs to be carefully evaluated in order to understand area‐specific variations in abundance and movement patterns.Received October 21, 2014; accepted December 16, 2015
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    Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8(1), 334-349
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    1942-5120;1942-5120;
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    CC BY
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    Library
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