Minimum Size Limits For Reef Fishes

Implementation of minimum size limits is an administratively simple method of maximizing yield-per-recruit and, probably, total yield from reef fisheries. However, size limits may not guarantee ample escapement to older ages and, consequently, adequate reproduction of those species which undergo sex reversal. Further, size limits may place unnacceptably severe restriction on certain portions of reef fisheries. Finally, most undersize reef fishes taken by hook and line from deep water will likely die of injuries caused by pressure change. Based on growth data of fishes from the United States South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico or southern Caribbean, size limits (TL) that would maximize yieid-per-recruit for the following species are: Pagrus pagrus, 369 mm; Rhomboplites aurorubens, 324 mm; Haemulon plumieri, 314 mm; Lutjanus campechanus, 407 mm; Lutjanus synagris, 356 mm; Ocyurus chrysurus, 403 mm; Centropristis striata, 233 mm; Epinephelus morio, 635 mm; Epinephelus guttatus, 363 mm; and Mycteroperca microlepis, 649 mm.

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