The low fecundity, late maturity, long gestation and long life span of Nautilus suggest that this species is vulnerable to over-exploitation. Demand from the ornamental shell trade has contributed to their rapid decline in localized populations. More data from wild populations are needed to design management plans which ensure Nautilus persistence. We used a variety of techniques including capture-mark-recapture, baited remote underwater video systems, ultrasonic telemetry and remotely operated vehicles to estimate population size, growth rates, distribution and demographic characteristics of an unexploited Nautilus pompilius population at Osprey Reef (Coral Sea, Australia). We estimated a small and dispersed population of between 844 and 4467 individuals (14.6-77.4 km-2) dominated by males (83:17 male:female) and comprised of few juveniles (<10%).These results provide the first Nautilid population and density estimates which are essential elements for long-term management of populations via sustainable catch models. Results from baited remote underwater video systems provide confidence for their more widespread use to assess efficiently the size and density of exploited and unexploited Nautilus populations worldwide.
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