Volume 66

Biology, Status and Current Management of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) in Antigua and Barbuda

Horsford, I., H. Simon, M. Archibald, J. Webber, and T. Joseph
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Date: November, 2013

Pages: 423 – 433

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

City: Corpus Christy

Country: USA


Catch and effort and biological data were collected from commercial fishing trips, at-sea stop and search, and from processing plants in Antigua and Barbuda. The objectives were to: i) Determine important fishery-related biological parameters for the Caribbean spiny lobster (size of maturity, mating / breeding periods, length-weight relationships, etc.), ii) Appraise management regimes (minimum size, close season, compliance with regulations, etc.), and iii) Determine trends and status of the fishery. In terms of size, sexual dimorphism was detected, with male lobsters being significantly larger than females (p < 0.01). The mean size of recruitment into the trap and SCUBA fisheries were significantly larger than for the free dive fishery (p < 0.01); however, in all cases mean values were greater than the minimum legal size of 95 mm carapace length. Estimates of the size of female maturity (95.7 and 97.7 mm) were slightly larger than the minimum legal size and defined as the size at which 50% of females have mated (i.e., those bearing spermatophores plus those that were egg-bearing). Despite this it was considered important to maintain the current minimum size since it was already a widely accepted harmonised management measure within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. In terms of status and trends, no significant negative trends were detected for mean size of lobster landed or mean catch per unit effort, even when compared with 1970s data. Based on the fore mentioned results, the lobster fishery was considered sustainable at the current level of fishing; however greater measures have to be taken to prevent growth overfishing

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