Dependence of recruitment on parent stock of the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, in Florida

Nelson M. Ehrhardt, Mark D. Fitchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Despite management practices to achieve sustainability, commercial landings for Florida spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) have experienced a drastic decline (57%) since 2000. This is cause for concern not only for economic reasons, but for issues of sustainability. An annual index of P. argus post-larval (puerulus) abundance, estimated with a generalized linear model with significant mean sea-level effects, shows a 36% decrease in annual puerulus supply since 1988. In addition, local Florida spawning stock biomass estimated from an age-structured sequential population analysis decreased 57% since 1988. Puerulus abundance follows a highly correlated (R = 0.76) trend with a 12-month delayed spawning stock abundance, which supports the contention that the Florida spawning population is a significant contributing factor to post-larval recruitment in Florida. Residuals about the puerulus on spawning stock abundance function follow closely an interannual North Atlantic Oscillation Index signal. This residual effect is thought of as a secondary regional population effect on Florida puerulus recruitment. The Florida spiny lobster stock is exploited with no fishing mortality controls due to the Pan Caribbean recruitment concept adopted in Florida spiny lobster management. Therefore, the potential of recruitment overfishing exists if fishing mortality controls to protect local spawning stock abundance, such as catch quotas, are not introduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-447
Number of pages14
JournalFisheries Oceanography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


  • Fisheries management
  • Florida Keys
  • Mean sea level
  • Puerulus
  • Recruitment
  • Spiny lobster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography


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