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Open Access The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery in Cuba: current status, illegal fishing, and environmental variability

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Spiny lobster, Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804), is the most valuable fishery resource in Cuba. Despite strong management, the population shows signs of decline. The objectives of the present study were to complete a literature review and to evaluate spiny lobster status, including illegal fishing. A statistical catch-at-age analysis, considering the addition of two environmental indices in the stock-recruitment relationship, was applied for two separate scenarios: one with official data (the "official model"), and a second including illegal fishing (the "total model"). Combined analysis of yield-per-recruit, spawning biomass-per-recruit, and stock-recruitment relationship was used to estimate equilibrium conditions at fixed levels of fishing mortality rate (F) and environmental conditions. Annual illegal catch represented 18.4% of total harvest. Recruitment and stock size estimates in both models showed similar historical behavior with a decreasing trend and a recovery in the last 5 yrs. F estimates of the total model are higher than those of the official model. There were considerable differences in stock production for reference points associated with environmental conditions, and the observed catch trajectory follows an average equilibrium curve. Incorporating illegal fishing led to lower maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and fishing mortality rate for the MSY (F MSY) values than the official model. If not taken into account, illegal activities can lead to the establishment of reference points that are higher than those that are sustainable for current populations. Despite the uncertainty associated with illegal fishing estimates, it is more precautionary to include them in stock assessments, which can lead to management decisions that result in more sustainable fisheries.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Fisheries Research Center, Calle 246 No. 503 entre 5ta Ave y Mar. Reparto Barlovento, Playa, Havana, Cuba, CP 19100;, Email: [email protected] 2: Fisheries Research Center, Calle 246 No. 503 entre 5ta Ave y Mar. Reparto Barlovento, Playa, Havana, Cuba, CP 19100

Publication date: 01 April 2018

This article was made available online on 08 January 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery in Cuba: current status, illegal fishing, and environmental variability".

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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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