Fisheriles Trends from Monroe County, Florida
Fishing is an important activity in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). Concern exists that excessive fishing could be deleterious to individual species, disrupt marine ecosystems, and damage the overall economy of the Florida Keys. We examined data from commercial, recreational, and marine life fisheries in Monroe County, Florida. Invertebrates comprised the majority of commercial landings. In 1992, the total reported commercial landings were composed of 52% invertebrates (4.09 × 106 kg), 28% reef fishes (2.19 × 106 kg), and 21% non-reef fishes (1.62 × 106 kg). In the recreational headboat fishery, reef fishes accounted for 92% of 0.107 × 106 kg average total annual landings from the Dry Tortugas and 86% of 0.201 × 106 kg landed from the Florida Keys since 1981. Average annual landings for other recreational fisheries were estimated at 1.79 × 106 kg for reef fishes (45%) and 2.17 × 106 kg for non-reef fishes (55%) from 1980 through 1992. Finer resolution of catch and effort data are needed. especially for recreational fisheries. Landings for some species varied greatly over time. The most conspicuous declines were for pink shrimp, combined grouper, and king mackerel while the most conspicuous increases were for amberjack, stone crab, blue crab, and yellowtail snapper. Landings of spiny lobster have generally remained constant. Fisheries closed to harvest included queen conch, Nassau grouper, jewfish, and stony corals. Effective fishing effort has increased over time with more participants and more effective fishing technology. Since 1965, the number of registered private recreational vessels has increased over six times, while the number of commercial and headboat vessels has remained stable. The number of management actions have continually increased and become more restrictive with increased fishing effort. Comparison of fisheries was complicated because different fisheries targeted different species and different sized organisms. Also, landings were sometimes reported by numbers and sometimes by weight. Measures of reproductive value and spawning potential are suggested as useful parameters for comparing effects of different fisheries. The new FKNMS provides a unique opportunity to shift management emphasis from a species approach to an ecosystem and habitat based approach.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-05-01
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