Spatial and temporal changes in egg production in the western rock lobster (Panulirus cygnus) fishery
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Size at maturity in the western rock lobster (Panulirus cygnus) fishery in Australia increases from north to south and female lobsters carry either one or two batches of eggs per season depending on their carapace length. There has been a steady decrease in the size at first maturity of western rock lobster over the last 30 years, and there are now significantly more small females, many below the legal minimum size, contributing to the brood stock than any time since the fishery has been researched. Biological data were used to show the current contribution to egg production in different management regions of the fishery and historical length-frequency data were used to show how egg production has changed in those regions overtime. Reasons for the change in size at maturity in this fishery are unclear, but the outcome has been that egg production is now more evenly distributed across management zones. Egg production was high at Abrolhos Islands in the 1990s owing to strong year classes of breeding animals entering the fishery over those years. In the period since 2000, egg production has fallen sharply at the islands, but has increased in the coastal population compared with the 1980s and 1990s.
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Phillips, Bruce; Melville-Smith, R. (2003)The Western Rock Lobster Fishery has 594 boats operating about 57,000 pots. Their average annual catch of 11,000 tonnes is valued at around US$150-300 million. In addition to the commercial catch, recreational fishers ...
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