Insights into swordfish (Xiphias gladius) movement patterns and habitat utilization off the coast of northern Chile

Chugey A. Sepulveda, Scott A. Aalbers, Michael Wang, Natalio Godoy, Alexis M. Jackson, Lyall Bellquist, Kate Kauer, Ilia Cari, Patricia M. Zarate

Submited: 2023-05-08 16:26:42 | Published: 2024-02-29 22:09:28

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3856/vol52-issue1-fulltext-3090

Abstract


This study reports on the fine-scale movements of swordfish (Xiphias gladius) tagged off of the Antofagasta region of northern Chile, where harpoon fishing operations date back more than seven millenia. The study was conducted within a highly productive swordfish foraging area where movements and habitat use remain poorly characterized. Swordfish were outfitted with both data storage and satellite-linked archival tags scheduled for short (<30 days) and longer-term (>100 days) data collection. All tags were deployed on basking swordfish using harpoon-based methods across two field seasons in March 2019 and April 2022 around oceanic fronts and offshore seamounts. Fine-scale depth and temperature data were recorded over 145 days from four adult swordfish (100-200 kg). Swordfish exhibited regionally unique diurnal behaviors with greater average daytime depths than those recorded at night (78.0 ± 66.5 and 12.7 ± 4.9 m, respectively). The average daytime depths were shallower than those previously documented for other Pacific regions, including Chile's offshore waters. Daytime basking was observed on 76% of the daily records (110 out of 145 days) and accounted for approximately 12% of the collective daylight hours. Findings align with previous swordfish tagging studies and suggest that depth distribution patterns vary considerably depending on regional oceanographic conditions. Movement data are compared with previous studies, and we discussed relative to regional fishing operations.

Sepulveda C, Aalbers S, Wang M, Godoy N, Jackson A, Bellquist L, Kauer K, Cari I, Zarate P. Insights into swordfish (Xiphias gladius) movement patterns and habitat utilization off the coast of northern Chile. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res.. 2024;52(1): 90-106. Available from: doi:10.3856/vol52-issue1-fulltext-3090 [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Sepulveda, C., Aalbers, S., Wang, M., Godoy, N., Jackson, A., Bellquist, L., Kauer, K., Cari, I., & Zarate, P. (2024). Insights into swordfish (Xiphias gladius) movement patterns and habitat utilization off the coast of northern Chile. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research, 52(1), 90-106. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3856/vol52-issue1-fulltext-3090