Volume 60

Evaluation of seasonal closures of red hind, Epinephelus guttatus (Pisces: Serranidae), spawning aggregations to fishing off the west coast of Puerto Rico, using fishery-dependent and independent time series data.

Marshak, A. and R. S. Appeldoorn.
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Date: November, 2007

Pages: 566-572

Event: Proceedings of the Sixtieth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The red hind (Epinephelus guttatus) is one of Puerto Rico’s most important commercial and recreational fishes. Following stock decline, an annual spawning season fishing closure was enacted in 1996 for three aggregation sites off the west coast, Abrir la Sierra, Bajo de Cico, and Tourmaline. Although the closure continues at present, its effectiveness toward population recovery has not been fully assessed. Fishery-independent red hind data from the Caribbean Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP-C) and fishery-dependent reported landings and port-sampled biostatistical data from the western platform of Puerto Rico were analyzed to infer recovery. An initial post-enactment increase of fishery-independent Catch-per-Unit-Effort (CPUE; kg/ trip) was observed throughout the platform, and within spawning aggregations. Increased fishing effort within previously undertargeted platform regions led to increases in nominal CPUE within later years, but resulted in subsequent decreases in fisheryindependent CPUE. Increased average length of red hind was observed in both data types, but was found to result from limited recruitment and proportional contributions of few remaining larger females. Although the closure was initially effective in stemming further stock decline, shifts in fishing strategy overrode potential recovery of red hind. However, recently enacted additional restrictions upon red hind fishing pressure may potentially aid in stock rebuilding.

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