Movement and activity patterns of the nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, in an oceanic Marine Protected Area of the South-western Atlantic
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The movement and activity patterns of the nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, a vulnerable species off Brazil, were investigated using mark-recapture and acoustic telemetry at an oceanic insular Marine Protected Area, the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil. A total of 93 sharks were captured and tagged, ranging from 82 to 265 cm of total length (TL). Nurse sharks were captured throughout the year, and all life-stages used the insular shelf. Fifteen sharks (16% of the total) were recaptured after periods at liberty ranging from 3.5 h to 705 days, and the distances between tag and recapture locations ranged from 0.07 to 3.5 km. Site fidelity and movements of 10 sharks ranging from 107 to 265 cm TL were investigated for 18 months with an array of automated telemetry receivers. The mean period of detection of the monitored sharks was 66 days, ranging from 13 to 119 days. One individual 158 cm TL was monitored with active tracking for 17 days, with distances between daily locations ranging from 0.84 to 3.32 km, exhibiting movements similar to those of sharks monitored by automated telemetry. Despite remaining motionless or exhibiting short range movements for several hours or days, nurse sharks can be relatively wide-ranging, and protected areas alone cannot be the only conservation measure used to protect this species, which requires a set of protective measures, including fisheries management.