Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Available tag-recapture and population genetics data for cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in the south-eastern United States were evaluated to provide information on population structure and determine the geographic boundary between stocks in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The movements of 1750 cobia were evaluated on the basis of assigned tagging and recapture zones. Genetic samples from an additional 2796 cobia collected during the presumed spawning season were genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci, and standard population genetic statistical analyses were applied to the resulting sample data set. Tag- recapture results indicate that cobia tagged south of Cape Canaveral, Florida, primarily move between that area and the Gulf of Mexico and that cobia tagged north of Georgia have little interaction with the area south of Cape Canaveral. Cobia tagged at Cape Canaveral distributed widely throughout the entire southeastern coast of the United States. Genetic analysis results agree, indicating separate stocks that occur from Texas through Hobe Sound on the east coast of Florida and from Savannah, Georgia, to the Chesapeake Bay in Virgina, with distinct genetic groupings within the Atlantic Ocean stock. The results indicate a transition area that occurs from Cape Canaveral through northern Georgia, and additional data from this region are necessary to further refine the stock boundary.
Perkinson, M; Darden, T; Jamison, M; Walker, MJ; Denson, MR; Franks, J; Hendon, R; Musick, Susanna; and Orbesen, ES, Evaluation of the stock structure of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in the southeastern United States by using dart-tag and genetics data (2019). Fishery Bulletin, 117(3), 220-223.