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Patterns in Landings and Size Composition of Jasus Verreauxi (H. Milne Edwards, 1851) (Decapoda, Palinuridae), in Waters Off New South Wales, Australia

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Available information suggests that the relative abundance of the New South Wales' spiny lobster stock, exploited since at least 1873, has declined over the past 20 years. Annual landings fluctuated until 1948-49 but have fallen in most years since. Data on fishing effort and CPUE were available only for years from 1969-70 onwards. Fishing effort was stable over most years to 1978-79 but has continued to rise since then. CPUE declined over the period for which data were available; this was attributed to a fall in the abundance of Jasus verreauxi, since this species comprises around 97% of the commercial catches of lobsters in New South Wales. The lengths of J. uerreauxi in catches from commercial vessels between 1986 and 1988 varied between locations. The spatial pattern in annual distributions of lengths suggests that this species may move along-shore. When data from all sites were combined, only 10% of the J. verreauxi sampled were longer than the smallest length at which 50% of females carry eggs (166.5 mm CL). Although the optimum level of fishing effort could not be determined from the available data, the patterns in landings, effort, and CPUE suggest that measures are necessary to conserve this resource until estimates of maximum sustainable yield and optimum fishing effort can be determined.

Affiliations: 1: NSW Fisheries, Fisheries Research Institute, P.O. Box 21, Cronulla, NSW 2230, Australia

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