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Aspects of the Biology and Fishery of the European Spiny Lobster (Palinurus Elephas) from the Southwest Coast of Portugal

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Abstract The biology and fishery of the lobster, Palinurus elephas from the SW coast of Portugal was studied during two distinct periods 10 years apart in 1993-1994 (March 93 to March 94) and during 2003 (May to July). The landings at the port of Sagres, representing half of the catch of the country for this species, were sampled twice a week. The ovigerous season extends from September to March, with an individual incubation period of five months. Considering the ovigerous condition as an indicator of maturity in females, 50% of the females were mature at carapace length of 110 mm. Females below this size represent 95% of the population and account for 41% of the egg production. Females above 50% maturity, representing only 5% of the population, provide 59% of the eggs, showing the importance of larger individuals in the reproduction of this species. Most biological parameters estimated are within the range of values reported for this species in other areas with the exception that in our study the total length was smaller in relation to carapace length, so that females of a given carapace length carried fewer eggs. Parameters were estimated for the following relationships: total length and carapace length, weight and carapace length, weight and total length, maturity at size (carapace length) and fecundity at size (carapace length). It is suggested that a set of measures including catch control, effort control, gear control and protected areas are combined to allow the recovery of this resource.

Affiliations: 1: a Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR), Universidade do Algarve, Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal


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