Estimating survival in a remote community-based fishery using acoustic telemetry

K. J. Lees, University of Windsor
M. A. Macneil, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine
K. J. Hedges, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
N. E. Hussey, University of Windsor


Small-scale fisheries are often considered data poor due to a myriad of complex factors. Precise estimates of key demographic rates are central to the sustainable management of these fisheries. We used 3 years of acoustic telemetry data to derive survival estimates of Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides; n = 255) within a small-scale community fishery in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Cormack–Jolly–Seber survival estimates were similar for the three top models (quarterly φ> 0.80) and detection probability varied with time and as a result of different tag configurations used (pTag type+t ). Survival also differed depending on the location and timing of fish tagging (φCatch; summer vs. winter). A further joint analysis combining detections of live fish and returned tags estimated quarterly survival and site fidelity probability (s = 0.97, 0.92–1.00 CI (credible interval) and f = 0.96, 0.92–1.00 CI, respectively). Survival estimates were unachievable using traditional tagging methods, highlighting the value of acoustic telemetry mark–recapture as a management tool for estimating demographic parameters for poorly known small-scale fisheries.