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

Jerald S. Ault, Steven G. Smith, Matthew W. Johnson, Laura Jay W. Grove, James A. Bohnsack, Gerard T. DiNardo, Caroline McLaughlin, Nelson M. Ehrhardt, Vanessa McDonough, Michael P. Seki, Steven L. Miller, Jiangang Luo, Jeremiah Blondeau, Michael P. Crosby, Glenn Simpson, Mark E. Monaco, Clayton G. Pollock, Michael W. Feeley, Alejandro Acosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 Lc and significant reductions in fishing mortality F. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106210
JournalFisheries Research
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Data-limited fisheries
  • Management
  • Tropical reef fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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