|Abstract or Summary
- Management objectives of vulnerable fish species must focus on maintaining healthy population status. Hence, reference points should be constrained to ensure recruitment. We assessed bioeconomic reference points for the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), an endemic fish to the Gulf of California, reaching lengths of 2 m and 25 years. Totoaba fishing is banned since 1975, after a drastic decline of catches in the upper Gulf of California. Although totoaba is protected by several international organizations, the demand by the Asian black market for the totoaba swim bladder has intensified illegal fishing in the past few years. Totoaba reference points were estimated as the steady state solution of a dynamic optimal management problem, taking into account: (1) fishing hook and gillnet technology with different selectivity shapes, (2) a discount factor associated with the reference points to discount future economic profits, and (3) effort levels (f) are subject to maintaining optimal spawning-stock biomass (SSB). With the introduction of economic behavior in the model, we analyzed f, yields (Y), and SSB trajectories under four scenarios, where the initial f begins at different years when totoaba fishery regulation decision is taken (from 2013 through 2016). Each scenario was modeled under three totoaba population states: recovered, mid-recovery, and depleted. Gillnet reached higher Y at lower f; however, this gear is not recommended because it is highly predatory for other protected species. Different scenario modelling showed that regulation delay has a negative impact on net present value.