Volume 53

Fishing Effort and Resource Allocation in the Florida Stone Crab (Menippe) Fishery

Matthews, T.R.; Larkin, M.F.
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Date: 2002

Pages: 83-99

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Third Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Fort Pierce, Florida

Country: USA


Fishery managers and fishermen have propased limiting fishing effort in the Florida stone crab fishery because fishing effort increased substantially in the 1990s and there was no commensurate increase in Jandines. However, before the type of effort limitation could be decided upon, managers needed to quantity fishing effort and understand how effort limitation would affect the overall fishery as well as individual fishermen. In this study, we first determined the current number of traps in the fishery and developed a data set based on the fishing habits of individual fishermen. We then used this information to evaluate the seven fishing-effort allocation alternatives being considered as a means to limit the number of traps a fisherman could use.\By evaluating each of the altematives for allocating fishing effort during the planning stages of the effort-limitation program, we were able to give both fishery managers and fishermen the data necessary to understand the consequences of each alternative. We concluded that the alternatives that use a single "bench-mark" year, selected from several past fishing seasons, included many retired or former fishermen and would allow more traps to be allocated to the fishery as a whole than were currently in use. Conversely, allocation alternatives that required several years of participation in the fishery tended to exclude recent entrants to the fishery. After examining our evaluations of the effort-allocation alternatives, fishery managers and the Florida legislature decided to allocated traps to fishermen based on any one fishing season during the most recent three seasons. This alternative would reduce current fishing effort, would include a high percentage of fishermen, and should have limited potential to affect future landings.

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