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Economic Assessment of the Biological Dynamics of Florida’s Commercial Snapper-Grouper Fishery Public Deposited

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Suggested Bibliographic Reference: NAAFE Forum 2017 Proceedings, March 22-24, 2017. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver with assistance from Stefani Evers. North American Association of Fisheries Economists (NAAFE), Corvallis, 2017.


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  • The goal of this research was to characterize the trade-offs between profitability and sustainability when managing a valuable commercial fishery.  The Florida finfish fishery generates over $75 million in annual dockside value; the snapper-grouper complex constitutes over half of that total.  Currently, federal stock assessment procedures focus on stock size and effort constraints, but lack any economic specificity associated with proposed regulatory actions.  To evaluate management strategies for snappers and groupers, an age-structured bioeconomic model was created for half a dozen snappers and groupers that dominate the commercial catch vector.  Prices per pound of these snappers and groupers were estimated using domestic landings and imports, then linked to dynamic biological-economic production models.  Management scenarios including eumetric fishing, which optimizes yield per recruit by adjusting minimum size limits and fishing mortalities, were simulated to examine the sensitivity of tradeoffs between economic returns and long-term fishery sustainability.  An increase in minimum size limits causes a temporary decrease in domestic landings to allow for spawning stock biomass to rebuild.  Since grouper production is primarily domestic, the price per pound would increase during the rebuilding phase; however, since snapper production is primarily imported, the decrease in domestic catches would have no influence on price per pound.  These results imply that market elasticity surrounding grouper production will buffer the economic hardship of decreased catch, while snappers’ inelastic market may require more intricate management intervention.
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