U.S. southeastern shrimp and reef fish resources and their management
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Catch rates of target and non-target species from commercial shrimp and reef fish fisheries operating in the U.S. southeastern region and associated fishing practices are provided in relation to an environmentally sound and economically driven approach to resource conservation. Beginning in 1992, fishery observers were placed aboard commercial vessels in the southeastern shrimp fishery. From 1993 through 1995 the program expanded to include reef fish vessels in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), and during 2004 and 2005 skimmer trawl vessels in coastal Louisiana. Data from 27,868 tows were collected aboard shrimp vessels. Total catch rates in kilograms per hour were 30.8 in the Gulf, and 27.7 in the southeastern Atlantic. In the Gulf, finfish comprised 65% of the total weight, with penaeid shrimp at 16%, nonpenaeid shrimp crustaceans at 13%, non-crustacean invertebrates at 4%, and debris at 1%. In the southeastern Atlantic, finfish accounted for 47%, with penaeid shrimp at 24%, invertebrates at 18%, crustaceans at 8%, and debris at 3%. In the Gulf, finfish catch rates by weight were significantly higher in Alabama/Mississippi and Louisiana as compared with Texas and Florida. Shrimp catchper- unit-effort (CPUE) was significantly higher off Texas. For all states areas, higher shrimp catch rates occurred in nearshore waters. Red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) CPUE was significantly higher off Texas in offshore waters during September through December. Assessment of the directed commercial reef fish fishery revealed relatively low release mortality. Based on surface release observations of under-sized target and unwanted species, the majority of fish were released alive with release mortality ranging from approximately 2% to 5% for all gear types. Five hundred forty-eight sea turtle captures were documented aboard commercial shrimp vessels from 1992 through 2005. Ratio estimation reflected higher catch rates in nets not equipped with turtle excluder devices (TEDs). Two alternative methods, logistic regression and conceptual modeling, revealed reduced take levels in TEDequipped nets. Data from 307 tows were collected aboard skimmer trawl vessels. Penaeid shrimp accounted for 66% of the total catch, followed by finfish at 19%, crustaceans at 7%, discarded penaeid shrimp at 6%, and debris at 3%.
Scott-Denton, Elizabeth (2007). U.S. southeastern shrimp and reef fish resources and their management. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from