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Population Dynamics and Stock Assessment of Lobsters: a Review

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This paper reviews advances in the population dynamics and stock assessment of lobsters since 1980. A great advance has been recognizing the direct effects of the varying physical environment on lobster abundance and developing testable hypotheses to explain them. Another advance has been in the use of manipulative field experiments to test hypotheses about juvenile population biology, and our understanding of juvenile ecology has also increased greatly. Many new relations among abundance, growth, survival, maturity, and fecundity have also been documented for older lobsters. For some species, biologists have identified the major influences determining abundance, but no obvious generalizations apply across all species. Stock assessments for lobsters must deal with the great complexity that is now documented for particular lobster populations. Yield-per-recruit and egg-per-recruit approaches are now heavily used, but probably do not address the necessary range of real population responses. Stock-production approaches continue to be used where appropriate data are available; great care is required. The role of stock assessment is shifting from identifying over-fishing toward predictive analysis of a range of management actions for each situation.

Affiliations: 1: MAF Fisheries Marine Research, P.O. Box 297, Wellington 6003, New Zealand

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