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A retrospective bioeconomic assessment of Florida’s commercial reef fisheries Public Deposited

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  • The Florida reef ecosystem is a highly valuable resource managed by multiple federal and state agencies with many stakeholders. Over half of the $75 million annual dockside value of finfish landings in Florida is comprised of snappers and groupers, but this resource is threatened by overfishing. Current management strategies include annual catch limits, spatial closures, seasonal closures, size limits, limited-entry, and catch shares. To investigate the performance of rebuilding strategies for a number of snapper-grouper species, we developed an age-structured, multi-fleet bioeconomic model. First, sustainability status was estimated via a length-based assessment, and observed total catch validated the simulated age-structured production model. After estimating seafood demand as a function of domestic landings, imports, disposable income, and management regimes, we estimated fleet costs as a function of effort, vessel characteristics, and permit type. Building on the above relationships, we conducted a retrospective analysis that examined the bioeconomic consequences of past management actions relative to a suite of rebuilding policies. Simulated policies focused on adjusting minimum size limits to maximize yield-per-recruit and were ranked based on economic output. The larger simulated fish stocks were associated with lower costs for the same amount of revenue (higher catch-per-unit-effort), a more stable resource, and larger long-term monetary gains. Our retrospective analysis estimates forgone economic surpluses from non-aggressive rebuilding actions and provides alternative strategies for future management.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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