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Open Access Impacts of Florida Coastal Protected Areas on Recreational World Records for Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum, Black Drum, and Common Snook

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The present study examines the influence of coastal marine protected areas (mpas) and statewide fishing regulations on recreational trophy fisheries for four important estuarine game fishes in florida, where ∼59% of the mainland coast consists of mpas. The distribution of International Game fish association (IGfa) recreational world records achieved over 70 years (1939–2009) were correlated with the strength and duration of fishery restrictions in mpas. no difference in record density was detected between coastal areas inside and outside of mpas where fishing was managed by statewide regulations. However, 74% (n = 143) of all records for three species were concentrated near the two mpas that had additional fishery restrictions. The highest concentration was along ∼11% of the mainland coast at cape canaveral (can) near mpas closed to all fishing since 1962. It included 42% of spotted seatrout [Cynoscion nebulosus (cuvier in cuvier and Valenciennes, 1830)], 55% of red drum [Sciaenops ocellatus (linnaeus, 1766)], and 69% of black drum [Pogonias cromis (linnaeus, 1766)] florida records. everglades national park (enp) had the second highest concentration with 7% of spotted seatrout, 32% of red drum, and 24% of black drum records caught along ∼9% of the mainland coast. enp partially limited fishing starting in 1980 by establishing a closed area, daily bag limits, and eliminating commercial fishing. common snook [Centropomus undecimalis (Bloch, 1792)] records did not increase significantly at can or enp. recreational fishery statistics corroborated IGfa record patterns. total recreational catch and catch per trip (cpue) increased significantly for spotted seatrout, red drum, and black drum in northeast and southwest florida, the two regions with the most protective mpas, and either declined or were unchanged in the northeast and southeast, which did not have mpas with fishing restrictions. Both datasets supported predictions of marine reserve theory that mpas can benefit fisheries by increasing the abundance and size of exploited species. data did not support other alternative hypotheses proposed to explain record patterns. In conclusion, evidence indicates that florida coastal estuarine mpas with fishery restrictions allowed recreational anglers to increase their total catch and cpue, and achieve more game fish world records than would have occurred if all coastal areas had been regulated by existing statewide fishing regulations.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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