Movement patterns analysis as a tool in Fully Protected Areas design: Influence of relocations on travelled distances of Palinurus elephas (Fabr. 1787) in Sardinian FPAs (central-western Mediterranean)


Effectiveness of restocking programs in Marine Fully Protected Areas' (FPAs) can be highly affected by the movement behavior of the species to protect. We analyzed the data of 744 Palinurus elephas specimens tagged, relocated inside 12 FPAs, established in the seas surrounding Sardinia (central-western Mediterranean), and then recaptured. The overall aims were to characterize the individuals' movements after the relocation and to discuss strengths and weaknesses of the current FPAs' design. Almost 80% of tagged individuals travelled progressively increasing distances, as a function of the release distance, up to a maximum value of 11,500 m. Then, for larger release distances, individuals' mobility appeared reduced and more chaotic. A similar trend was found analyzing the distances travelled with respect to the FPAs with the highest number of recaptured individuals and to the . These results allow to establish a threshold limit of the release distance, to take into account when designing FPAs, as a useful tool to keep a portion of the individuals into FPAs’ borders, in order to both preserve the species and guarantee a spillover of individuals in the commercial areas.