Catch Rates of Snowy Grouper, Epinephelus Niveatus, on the Deep Reefs of Onslow Bay, Southeastern U.S.A.
Abstract:The decline of a previously unexploited group of snowy grouper, Epinephelus niveatus was monitored from June 1985–April 1986. The study area was located in Onslow Bay, off the central North Carolina coast. Snowy grouper dominated (>90%) the catches from the newly found reef and from other deepwater reefs in Onslow Bay. Catch rates, by weight, and mean size of fish taken from the newly discovered site were initially very high (67 kg˙drop−1 and 8.4 kg˙fish−1, respectively), but rapidly converged to values (7 kg˙drop−1 and 3.7 kg˙fish−1) comparable to other previously exploited reefs. Larger fish had a higher probability of being caught. The newly found site was fished intensively for less than 3 mo, removing 3% of the population daily. The estimates of initial exploitable biomass ranged from 29.2–30.8 t (eviscerated weight), at a density of approximately 11 kg˙m−2. By early August, over 60% of the exploitable biomass had been removed, and the site could no longer support exclusive fishing during a trip; within a year over 80% had been removed. The newly discovered site contributed over 30% of the total amount of snowy grouper landed in North Carolina in 1985.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1995-03-01
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