Estimating demographic parameters for fisheries management using acoustic telemetry

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


Mark-recapture approaches are among the most powerful fisheries methods for estimating demographic parameters relating to survival, components of mortality (i.e. fishing, catch and release, or predation), and abundance. Yet conventional fisheries mark-recapture studies are logistically challenging and can suffer low recapture probabilities and poor precision that may bias parameter estimates. Current methods to infer mortality indirectly from life-history parameters often fail to describe spatiotemporal or age-class specific variation in mortality rates. Despite the ability of acoustic telemetry-based mark-recapture methods to address many of these issues, they are not commonly used within fisheries management. This systematic review identifies the types of mark-recapture study designs that have used acoustic telemetry to date, including the species and habitats studied. The key benefits of acoustic telemetry mark-recapture studies are highlighted, and considerations for planning acoustic telemetry mark-recapture studies are presented to encourage their wider application. Bayesian multistate models that include auxiliary data should provide the most appropriate framework to expand the use of acoustic telemetry mark-recapture in geographically large open populations, further supporting the use of acoustic telemetry mark-recapture within fisheries management.