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Subject: Re: Effort saturation? Close season ?
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 7 Mar 2000 10:30:30 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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Dr. Barkai:
I work for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in the southeast United States.  The Gulf Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council have a joint Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan.  This fishery is concentrated primarily off south Florida and is heavily overcapitalized.  We do not have a TAC or closed seasons.  In the past, optimum yield (OY) was defined as all the spiny lobster that could be harvested with a carapace length greater than 3.0 inches or tail length not less than 5.5 inches.  While recruitment overfishing is not occurring (recruitment appears to be coming from spawning populations outside of the area), the high level of effort and the use of live undersize lobsters in the traps as "bait" is producing growth overfishing.  Consequently, our FMP, in combination with state rules promulgated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, has implemented a limited entry trap reduction system.

The Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (SFA) required that we develop new, more quantitative and conservative, measures of OY and maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for all of the fisheries that we manage.  In a document called the Generic SFA Amendment, we proposed new MSY and OY definitions based on spawning potential ratio (SPR).  However, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which must approve FMPs and amendments, dissapproved these proposed definitions.  According to NMFS, because of the potential effect of factors such as changes in habitat, there is not necesarily a one-to-one relationship between a give SPR and stock biomass.  Although we dispute this finding, we are curently working to develop new biomass based definitions that are acceptable to NMFS.

You might be interested in reviewing our Spiny Lobster FMP.  To get a copy, send the Gulf Council a request, with your mailing address, for the Spiny Lobster FMP, all Spiny Lobster FMP amendments (I think there are 3), and the Generic Sustainable Fisheries Act Amendment.  Send your request to Lorna Evans (mailto:[log in to unmask]).

If you would like to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for information about their lobster regulations, you can get information from their web site, http://www.state.fl.us/fwc/ .

Sincerely,

Steven Atran
Population Dynamics Statistician
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
Tampa, Florida  USA
mailto:[log in to unmask]
web: http://www.gulfcouncil.org

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