Recreational Fishery and Population Dynamics of Spiny Lobsters, Panulirus Argus, in Florida Bay, Everglades National Park, 1977–1980
Abstract:Florida spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus, occupied the southern two-thirds of Florida Bay in Everglades National Park. Field studies of 3,570 tagged lobsters revealed that they pass through Florida Bay, using it for less than three years as juveniles, between their planktonic larval stages in the open ocean and adulthood on coral reefs. Lobsters from the bay support commercial and recreational fisheries outside of Everglades National Park from Dry Tortugas to Pacific Reef near Miami. Growth rates of juvenile lobsters in Florida Bay are the highest on record, which may be a reflection of optimum habitat with abundant food and shelter. Reportedly, the average-sized lobster taken by commercial bully netters in the bay prior to 1965 was 90–95 mm carapace length. The park's recreational harvest in 1978–1979 was about 20,000 lobsters with a mean size of 83 mm CL, and about 44,000 lobsters (x88 mm CL) in the 1979–1980 season. The fishery also provided 7,500 to 8,000 person-days of recreation each year for about 1,000 persons. In 1980, a lobster nursery sanctuary was created in the Everglades National Park portion of Florida Bay to restore the natural conditions of the bay and provide more lobsters for harvest in adjacent fisheries.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1989
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