Potential Survival of Released Groupers Caught Deeper than 40 m based on Shipboard and in-situ Observations, and Tag-Recapture Data
Abstract:The undersized bycatch of groupers managed under current federal minimum-size rules must have a high rate of post-release survival for the rule to be effective in maximizing yield unless there is significant avoidance of this bycatch by the fishery. Moreover, this survival rate would have to remain high over the entire range of depths fished if a single estimate of release mortality is to be used in yield models. In this study, shipboard and in situ observations were used to determine the potential post-release survival rate of groupers, chiefly red grouper (Epinephelus morio), caught from between 44 and 75 m on the central west Florida shelf. Potential survival rates were then further evaluated in combination with data from a tag and recapture study (3,818 releases) in the same area and time period. Potential survival rates for released red grouper and scamp (Mycteroperca phenax) caught shallower than 44 m were very high (86 to 100%) for up to 8 days following return. Undersized grouper (<50.8 cm) caught from both shallower and deeper than 44 m, then tagged and released, were found to survive long enough to reach legal size. For grouper caught deeper than 44 m, however, tag/recapture data and in situ observations indicate that potential survival rates are too low (<33%) for the 50.8 cm (20 inches) size rule to be effective in increasing yield.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1996-01-01
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