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Estimation of abundance and spatial distribution of Panulirus argus using different methodologies in artificial shelter, trap and coral reef fisheries

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Estimates of spiny lobster stocks (Panulirus argus Latreille, 1804) represent a fundamental input for population assessment models and are, therefore, indispensable for proper management. In this study we analysed methodologies employed in the Gulf of Batabanó (Cuba) and Providencia and Santa Catalina (Colombian Caribbean) to estimate abundance (N) and stock productivity. We found evidence that the relative abundance (CPUE) for trap-like jaulones and skin diving in natural shelters was likely to remain high despite the decline in abundance (hyperstability). In contrast, the proportionality between CPUE and N was satisfactory in artificial shelters (Cuban pesqueros). Stock productivity was greater for jaulones (22 288 kg/km2) than for pesqueros (1309 kg/km2) or natural shelters (15.25 kg/km2), reflecting differences in the productive capacity of each type of fishing gear. In natural shelters the exploitable biomass is under great fishing pressure and the reproductive stock is likely to decrease. Thus, the West zone of Providencia and Santa Catalina, characterized by high-density seagrass and mangrove, should be designated a marine protection area to prevent a lobster fishing collapse. The most effective measure to revert the lobster fishing collapse in Cuba would be to ban the use of jaulones and liftable pesqueros, thereby reducing fishing intensity.

Affiliations: 1: 1PVE-UFC, Instituto de Ciências do Mar, Av. da Abolição, 3207, Meireles Fortaleza, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil; 2: 2Instituto Colombiano de Desarrollo Rural INCODER, Dirección Técnica de Investigación y Ordenamiento, Calle 43 No. 57-41 CAN, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia


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