Movement patterns of the East Coast rock lobster Panulirus homarus rubellus on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Steyn, E. & Schleyer, M.H. 2011. Movement patterns of the East Coast rock lobster Panulirus homarus rubellus on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(1): 85-101.
A tagging study was undertaken on Blood Reef off Durban, South Africa, to investigate movement patterns of Panulirus homarus rubellus as well as inshore/offshore population differences. Lobsters were collected by SCUBA divers and baited traps. Traps caught larger lobsters than divers and trap catches were somewhat male-dominated (40% female:60% male). Lobsters were predominately resident with only 3% of recaptured lobsters moving over 500 m. Long shore movements were probably related to foraging behaviour and sanding and scouring of reefs. Larger lobsters were caught on offshore reefs (>10 m depth) than on inshore reefs (<10 m depth). The absence of large lobsters (>100 mm carapace length, CL) on inshore reefs may be related to fishing mortality. Low juvenile numbers (<50 mm CL) on offshore reefs suggest that post-larval lobsters settle on inshore reefs. An exponential decay model indicated that a small percentage of the population (males: 1.3%; females: 2.5%) move offshore with females mainly moving at 3 years of age and males between 1 and 3 years of age.