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Reproductive potential and stock recruitment of the Caribbean and Brazilian metapopulations of the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804)

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The spiny lobster Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804) is the most important commercial fishing resource in the western central Atlantic and Brazil. Field studies covering the waters off southwestern Cuba and northern Brazil have improved our understanding of the variations in the reproductive potential (number of eggs), stock recruitment and reproductive efficiency of spiny lobsters according to location, depth and size class. Using the spawner-recruitment model, the reproductive potential index was correlated with the index of subsequent recruitment based on field sampling. Spiny lobster habitats in deeper waters need special attention in order to protect the species from overfishing of the recruitment. Considering the longevity and absence of reproductive senility in spiny lobsters, management strategies should ideally include the creation of spawner sanctuaries (marine protected areas) capable of restoring and maintaining the biomass of the spawning stock and the establishment of a maximum catch size of 135 mm (CL) for both sexes along the entire Brazilian coast. Based on our findings, we propose to establish spiny lobster sanctuaries (50-100 m) on the continental shelf off northern Brazil, from Amapá (5°25′N 51°0′W) to the western reaches of the coast of Pará (1°11′N 46°27′W, 0°42′N 46°45′W), covering a total surface area of 64 230 km2.

Affiliations: 1: 1Instituto de Ciências do Mar, Avenida da Abolição 3207, Meireles Fortaleza, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil; 2: 2Instituto Socioambiental e dos Recursos Hídricos, Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, Avenida Presidente Tancredo Neves 2501, Montese, Belém, PA, Brazil; 3: 3Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciências e Tecnologia do Ceará (IFCE) — Campus Acaraú, Av. Des. Armando de Sales Louzada, s/n, CE


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