Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Habitat Utilization and Vertical Distribution of the Great Barracuda Sphyraena barracuda (Edwards 1771) in the Western North Atlantic Ocean

Event Name/Location

35th Annual Meeting of the Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Altoona, Florida, February 17-19, 2015

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding






The great barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda, is a large predatory teleost commonly seen in the tropics of the Western North Atlantic. There has recently been some stakeholder concern over the population numbers of this species. Using pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs), six large S. barracuda (85-118 cm) were tagged off the coast of South Florida and Bimini, Bahamas. Two of the six tags remained attached to the S. barracuda for the duration of the deployment period. S. barracuda 88094 traveled 471 km MSLD over the 15-day tag duration, while S. barracuda 88095 traveled 1231 km MSLD over its 15-day deployment period. S. barracuda 88094 dove to a maximum depth of 145.2 m, while 88095 dove to a maximum depth of 186.9 meters. The data obtained indicate significant differences in diel behavior, with both S. barracuda utilizing deeper depths during nighttime periods. The results of this study show that S. barracuda are capable of travelling great distances over short periods of time, and can inhabit depths greater than 175 meters. These data will allow fisheries managers to better understand S. barracuda behavior and how they interact with more economically valuable species, with the ultimate goal of more effective species management.

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