New insights into behavioural ecology of European seabass off the West Coast of France: implications at local and population scales

Type Article
Date 2019-03
Language English
Author(s) de Pontual HeleneORCID1, Lalire Maxime1, 2, Fablet Ronan3, Laspougeas Claire4, Garren Francois1, Martin Stephane1, Drogou Mickael1, Woillez MathieuORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, Sciences et Technologies Halieutiques, CS 10070, Plouzané, France
2 : CLS, Space Oceanography Division, 8-10 rue Hermes, Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
3 : Institut Telecom/Telecom Bretagne, UMR 6285 LabSTICC, CS 83818, Brest Cedex 3, France
4 : Parc Naturel Marin d'Iroise, Pointe des Renards, Le Conquet, France
Source Ices Journal Of Marine Science (1054-3139) (Oxford University Press (OUP)), 2019-03 , Vol. 76 , N. 2 , P. 501-515
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsy086
WOS© Times Cited 18
Note Contribution to the Themed Section: ‘Plugging spatial ecology into sustainable fisheries and EBM’
Keyword(s) cod, connectivity, Data Storage Tag (DST), depth, European sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, geolocation, partial migration, spawning site fidelity, temperature, vertical movement

From 2010 to 2012, 246 data storage tags were deployed on European seabass in the Iroise Natural Marine Park, a marine protected area (MPA) off west Brittany, France. A return rate of 14.6% associated with long time series of data provided new information on fish ecology (e.g. maximum experienced depth greater than 225 m, temperature range 6.80–21.87°C). Depth and temperature series were used to infer individual migration using an innovative hidden Markov model (HMM) especially developed for seabass geolocation. Reconstructed fish tracks revealed that seabass is a partially migratory species, as individuals exhibited either long-distance migrations towards the Bay of Biscay or the Celtic Sea, or residency behaviour in the Iroise Sea. Fidelity to summer feeding areas and to winter spawing areas was demonstrated. These results suggest that the population is spatially structured. The Iroise Sea is likely a mixing zone for different stocks or sub-populations, and may also shelter a resident population. At the population scale, such findings may impact ICES stock assessment and the resulting decisions from EU managers. At the local scale, conservation action could be taken by MPA managers. Besides, this study demonstrates the high potential of archival tags for investigating multi-year behavioural patterns such as site fidelity to offshore spawning areas.

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de Pontual Helene, Lalire Maxime, Fablet Ronan, Laspougeas Claire, Garren Francois, Martin Stephane, Drogou Mickael, Woillez Mathieu (2019). New insights into behavioural ecology of European seabass off the West Coast of France: implications at local and population scales. Ices Journal Of Marine Science, 76(2), 501-515. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :