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Variation and Persistence of Pre-Recruit Catch Rates of Homarus Gammarus in Bridlington Bay, England

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The catch rate of legal-sized (85 mm carapace length and above) and sub-legal lobsters caught in traps was recorded for a single vessel over all its fishing grounds for seven years. From growth data the size distribution of the catch was used to estimate catch rates of pre-recruits and recruits to the fishery each year. Pre-recruit catch rates in the main summer fishery showed a general downward trend with time, until 1992 when the catch rate was the highest for four years. For recruits, catch rates in the summer fishery also showed a downward trend with time for males, but the trend was less obvious for females. Catch rates of recruits in the summer fishery are correlated with catch rates of pre-rccruits in the fishery in the previous year, although there was some indication that the relationship was weak in the area where the highest catch rate of pre-recruits occurred and in the more offshore grounds. We conclude that there is scope for using pre-recruit catch rates in the summer fishery as an index of recruitment to the fishery 12 months later.

Affiliations: 1: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Directorate of Fisheries Research, Fisheries Labora-tory, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, England

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