Volume 68

Condos and Connectivity: Developing an Interdisciplinary Approach to Guide Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) Fisheries Management Within the Bahamas

Callwood, K.A., A.S. Kough, and C.B. Paris
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Date: November, 2015

Pages: 354 - 364

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty eigth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Panama City

Country: Panama


Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is a heavily exploited seafood throughout its range. Its long pelagic larval duration and thus potential for long-range dispersal increases the difficulty in determining the origins of local populations and impairs management. Spiny lobster supports the primary fishery in The Bahamas. In addition, the use of condos (or casitas) as a fishing method has increased in recent years. Yet, the combination of the ecological, social, and management implications of condo usage have not been fully evaluated. Here we present an interdisciplinary approach and assess how this novel strategy can assist in the difficulties of designing sustainable management for spiny lobster in The Bahamas. Emphasis is placed on the integration of anthropological and biophysical modeling techniques, providing an example of how these merged tools can help understand ecological processes while assisting management decisions. Simulations of larval dispersal for Bahamian spiny lobster populations indicate dispersal distances (or dispersal kernel) of 200 - 400 km, with a 25% probability of successful settlement. Surveys and semi-structured interviews of Bahamian fishers revealed five popular areas for condo placement. Further connectivity assessments of these locations indicate higher rates of settlement success for four sites. Two of these locations demonstrated a narrower dispersal kernel, suggesting self-recruitment. However, the three remaining locations appear to depend on subsidies from other spiny lobster populations throughout the Caribbean. These differences in connectivity suggest each location be evaluated individually to determine spatially-dependent management actions, and to effectively develop and implement condo-related policies that will be supported by local communities.

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