A pilot tagging program on southern rays bream (Brama australis): methodology and preliminary recaptures

Rodrigo Wiff*, Andrés Flores, Santiago Gacitúa, Carl R. Donovan, T. Mariella Canales, Mauricio Ahumada, Dante Queirolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The southern rays bream (Brama australis) is a highly migratory, epi-mesopelagic species supporting an important artisanal fishery off central-southern Chile. Despite its importance, several questions exist about this species's demography and migratory routes. The first step in understanding the migratory behavior of B. australis is to test the feasibility of a conventional tagging program, a standard mark-recapture method, to infer migration in fish. Between February 2020 and December 2021, conventional tagging was conducted during 21 fishing trips on board artisanal vessels off Lebu harbor (Biobío Region, Chile) using gillnets, longlines, and handlines. Three thousand nine hundred forty-six individuals of B. australis between 30 and 55 cm fork length were tagged using external T-anchor bar labels (commonly known as "spaghetti"). Approximately 100 and 200 fish were tagged per fishing trip using longlines and gillnets, respectively. The size distribution of the tagged individuals was consistent with those retained in the catch, with 90% of tagged fish being longer than the fork length at 50% maturity. Eight tags have been recovered off the coast of Lebu up to May 2022. With times at liberty between 50 and 537 days. These preliminary recaptures are also analyzed in the context of the conceptual model for demography and migration proposed for this species in Chile. The main conclusion of this research is that a conventional tagging program is feasible for B. australis in Chile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalLatin American Journal of Aquatic Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • artisanal fishery
  • Brama australis
  • migratory fish
  • South Pacific
  • southern rays bream
  • tagging program


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