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Length-based risk analysis of management options for the southern Florida USA multispecies coral reef fish fishery

February 22, 2023

A goal of this work is to effectively balance sustainability risks with fishery production to mitigate overfishing likelihoods and to increase the probability of sustainable fisheries.

Exploitation impacts and management options for 15 coral reef fish species central to the commercial and recreational fisheries of the southern Florida USA coral reef ecosystem were evaluated using a length-based risk analysis (LBRA) framework. Population abundance-at-length composition data were obtained from several regional federal-state sampling programs. These and updated life history demographic data were integrated into a length-based numerical cohort model to generate LBRA fishery sustainability metrics from a probabilistic perspective. Three of five groupers, eight of eight snappers, and two of two grunts were below the 40% spawning potential ratio (SPR) stock sustainability minimum; ten of these stocks are at < 20% of their historical spawning biomass, some as low as 5%. Therefore, to ameliorate overfishing for the 13 stocks with sustainability risks ≥ 98%, fisheries management requires increased minimum sizes of first capture and significant reductions in fishing mortality. To achieve sustainability and reduce sustainability risks area-time protections are also needed. While lack of data often limits the evaluation of management options, this paper establishes benchmarks from which data-limited approaches can move forward. In addition, the approach can be used to cross-check other data-rich analyses. A goal of this work is to effectively balance sustainability risks with fishery production to mitigate overfishing likelihoods and to increase the probability of sustainable fisheries.


Jerald S. Ault, Steven G. Smith, Matthew W. Johnson, et al, Length-based risk analysis of management options for the southern Florida USA multispecies coral reef fish fishery, Fisheries Research, Volume 249, 2022, 106210, ISSN 0165-7836, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2021.106210.

Last updated by Southeast Fisheries Science Center on 02/22/2023