Informing the vulnerability of species to spawning aggregation fishing using commercial catch data

Tobin, Andrew, Currey, Leanne, and Simpfendorfer, Colin (2013) Informing the vulnerability of species to spawning aggregation fishing using commercial catch data. Fisheries Research, 143. pp. 47-56.

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Fish spawning aggregations (FSAs) present a unique challenge for fishers and managers as aggregation fishing can be economically rewarding yet lead to overfishing and population collapse. Assessing the vulnerability of FSAs to fishing is often problematic due to a paucity of data. We present a tiered analysis for interrogating fishery logbook data for signals that fishing targets FSAs. We use two line fisheries that operate on Australia's Great Barrier Reef as models. The Reef Line Fishery (RLF) and Pelagic Line Fishery (PLF) operate across 90 of latitude, fishing occurs year round and the RLF has a seasonal spawning closure. A recent review reduced temporal closure days from 27 days to 10 days per year, though in the absence of any quantitative assessment of the vulnerability of targeted fish to increased harvest and hence risk. These fisheries target three reef fish groups (common coral trout Plectropomus leopard us, redthroat emperor Lethrinus miniatus, and a "other species" group mostly comprised of lethrinids and lutjanids) and a pelagic Scomberomorus commerson (narrow-barred Spanish mackerel). The tiered analyses captured the complete annual cycle of fish and fisher interaction across all latitudes and explored a number of catch metrics (landed catch, catch-per-unit-effort, and timing and size of large catch anomalies). No clear evidence of increased vulnerability of any of the three coral reef fish groups to fishing during spawning was found. Conversely the pelagic S. commerson is clearly more vulnerable to fishing during spawning. The tiered analytical approach is recommended as increased vulnerability of FSAs to fishing may not be identified by single analyses and without relative comparisons among species, the most vulnerable may be overlooked.

Item ID: 28724
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-6763
Keywords: spawning aggregations, vulnerability, reef fish, fishery management, temporal closure
Funders: Australian Government’s Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Fund
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2013 05:27
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 100%
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