Testing a model to track fish migrations in polar regions using pop-up satellite archival tags


e-mail: bjorn@imr.no


The use of pop-up archival satellite tags (PSATs) to geolocate marine fishes in polar regions is challenging due to the brevity of periods during which there is a defined sunrise and sunset. Models using other environmental parameters are thus required to supplement geolocation data in the estimation of marine migratory routes. The objective of this work was to create a simple method that would estimate the migratory pathways of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in polar regions using temperature and depth recordings. Validated geolocations from PSATs were used to test and constrict the model. The model’s predicted migratory routes were within 100 km of the light-based geolocations calculated by the tags. By constraining the trajectories through the geolocations, bias was reduced. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that slight alterations of the location and timing of the start and end points did not affect the mean migratory route estimates. This method is a management tool that can determine the primary habitat areas for any surface- or bottom-dwelling marine species – especially in polar regions, where other methods may be impossible.