Volume 72

Estimating Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus) population structure, movement, and vital rates in the US Virgin Islands to inform stock assessment and fisheries management

Rosemond, C. R; S. A. Heppell; K. M. Dugger; R. S. Nemeth
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Other Information

Date: November, 2019

Pages: 370

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus) are fished commercially, recreationally, and for subsistence throughout much of the Caribbean. Red Hind are of particular management interest in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as the species has historically comprised the majority of fin fish landings in these locations. Our study aims to provide fishery managers with current estimates of population structure, movement, and vital rates to inform stock assessment and fisheries management. We tagged fish during the winter spawning months in the Red Hind Conservation District south of St. Thomas, USVI. Each fish was tagged with a uniquely-numbered conventional streamer tag, measured for total length, blood sampled (to determine sex), and then released at the point of capture. Population movement and vital rates were estimated based on information from recovered and reported tags during normal annual harvest. Using historical and contemporary mark-recapture data and a Barker modeling framework, we are working to estimate population survival, harvest, and reporting rates. We are also estimating sex and length distribution and total movement to and from the spawning aggregation site. This study will provide valuable demographic information regarding the Red Hind population twenty years after the spawning aggregation site was closed to all fishing during spawning activity

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