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Habitat and bycatch effects on population parameters of inshore lizardfish (Synodus foetens) in the north central Gulf of Mexico
Jeffers; Patterson III, W.F.; Cowan Jr, J.H. (2008). Habitat and bycatch effects on population parameters of inshore lizardfish (Synodus foetens) in the north central Gulf of Mexico. : 417-426

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Jeffers
  • Patterson III, W.F.
  • Cowan Jr, J.H.

Abstract
    We examined the effect of habitat and shrimp trawl bycatch on the density, size, growth, and mortality of inshore lizardfish (Synodus foetens), a nonexploited species that is among the most widespread and abundant benthic fishes in the north central Gulf of Mexico. Results of quarterly trawl sampling conducted from spring 2004 through spring 2005 revealed that inshore lizardfish are most abundant on sand habitat, but larger fish are more common on shell rubble habitat. There was no significant difference in fish density between habitats exposed to shrimp trawling on the open shelf versus those habitats within a permitted artificial reef zone that served as a de facto no-trawl area; this finding indicates that either inshore lizardfish experienced minimal effects from trawling or, more likely, that fish moved between trawled and nontrawled habitats. Exploitation ratio (bycatch mortality/total morality) estimates derived from catch curve analysis ranged from 0.43 inside the artificial reef zone to 0.55 outside the reef zone, thus indicating that inshore lizardfish are subject to significant fishing mortality in the north central Gulf of Mexico despite the lack of a directed fishery for the species. We infer from this result that effects of shrimp trawl bycatch may be significant at the population level for nonexploited species and that a broader ecosystem-scale examination of bycatch effects is warranted.

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