African Journal of Marine Science

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A telemetry experiment on spotted grunter Pomadasys commersonnii in an African estuary

SE Kerwath, A Götz, PD Cowley, WHH Sauer, C Attwood


The feasibility of using telemetry equipment to study the movements of estuarine-associated fish in South Africa was investigated by conducting a tracking experiment on spotted grunter Pomadasys commersonnii in the East Kleinemonde Estuary. The telemetry equipment comprised two VEMCO V8 transmitters and a VEMCO VR60 receiver linked to a directional hydrophone. Field experiments demonstrated that the equipment's maximum detection range was 400m. The transmitters were tuned to different frequencies, and interference between these was found to be negligible. The accuracy of locating the transmitter equalled the previously determined Global Positioning System (Garmin GPS 12) accuracy of approximately 5m. Two fish were tracked over a seven-day period. The fish preferred the lower reaches of the estuary where they made repeated and prolonged use of some areas. A tank experiment was conducted to examine the effects of the transmitter implantation. Fish recovered quickly after the surgical procedure, and no differences in swimming behaviour and growth rates were found between these fish and the controls.

Keywords: estuary; fish behaviour; fish movement; Pomadasys commersonnii, telemetry

African Journal of Marine Science 2005, 27(2): 389–394
AJOL African Journals Online