Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Caribbean spiny lobster - USA Florida
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Status of stocks and resources 2019
Caribbean spiny lobster - USA Florida
Fact Sheet Citation  
Owned byFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – More
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FAO Names: en - Caribbean spiny lobster, fr - Langouste blanche, es - Langosta común del Caribe
Geographic extent of Caribbean spiny lobster - USA Florida
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: National
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2009
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateNot applicable
Abundance levelNot applicable
FAO Categories
Exploitation stateUncertain

Several country reports (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bahamas, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba) indicate a fully fished or stable status, while for other countries (Caribbean Netherlands, Dominican Republic, France, Honduras, Panama and United States of America) the status of stocks is unknown (FAO, 2015).
Habitat and Biology
Climatic zone: Tropical.   Vertical distribution: Benthic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: National

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: National

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

Spiny lobster landings off Florida peak in 2 000 at 10.1 million pounds. The commercial trap fishery takes approximately 70 percent of the annual harvest of Florida stock with the recreational (dive) fishery removing about 22 percent annually of the total harvest. Annual effort peaked in 1991 fishing season at approximately 44 000 trips. Subsequently, Florida enacted a trap reduction program to cap trap effort at 400 000 traps.

Stock status of Florida Caribbean Spiny Lobster is determined using two main model types: a modified Dulury estimator and the Integrated Catch at Age (ICA) model. 

Data are available on total harvest, seven catch per unit of effort indices representing the commercial fishery and eight fishery independent surveys, commercial and recreational catch at size information.
Assessment Model
Type:  Age-structured
Modified Dulury Estimator Model

The Dulury population model provide estimates of recruitment, vulnerable biomass, catchability, and fishing mortality.
Integrated Catch at Age (ICA) model

The ICA model estimates fishing mortality and population size (numbers) by size category.
Overall Assessment Results

The primary areas of uncertainties in the status of Florida stocks include data weaknesses and modeling inconsistencies. Data concerns exist regarding the most representative growth curve, estimates of natural mortality, lack of annual age length keys for use in tracking cohort strength, and relatively short time series of age 3+ (adult biomass) abundance indices. Model concerns include existence of retrospective patterns in model estimates producing underestimates of fishing mortality in recent years, selection of appropriate status reference points for use in quantifying stock status.
Scientific Advice

Areas of concern on US Caribbean spiny lobster stocks include: the need for more extensive review of the representative growth characterizations, evaluation of uncertainties in basic catch (landings) and effort statistics, concerns on non-reporting and under-reporting by commercial fishers, lack of quantification of recreational harvest, selection of appropriate stock assessment model, adoption of harmonized data collection standards for characterizing landings and population model inputs (e.g. catch, CPUE, size by relevant strata (year/season, month, area, gear, age), and selection of appropriate harvest control rule.
Management unit: Yes
Source of information
FAO. Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission. 2019. Review of the state of fisheries and fisheries resources in the WECAFC region. Meeting document WECAFC/SAG/IX/2018/3 of the ninth session of the Scientific Advisory Group, Christ Church, Barbados, 19-20 November 2018.  Click to open
FAO. 2019. Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission/FAO Comisión Central de Pesca para el Atlántico Centro-Occidental. 2019. Report of the second meeting of the OSPESCA/WECAFC/CRFM/CFMC Working Group on Caribbean Spiny Lobster, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 21–23 March 2018/Informe de la segunda reunión del Grupo de Trabajo de OSPESCA/COPACO/CRFM/CFMC sobre la Langosta Espinosa del Caribe, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, 21-23 de marzo 2018. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report/Informe de Pesca y Acuicultura. No. 1264. Bridgetown. 68 pp. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.  Click to open
FAO. Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission/FAO Commission des pêches pour l’Atlantique Centre-Ouest/FAO Comisión Central de Pesca para el Atlántico CentroOccidental. 2019. Report of the ninth session of the Scientific Advisory Group, Christ Church, Barbados, 19-20 November 2018. Rapport de la neuvième session du Groupe scientifique consultatif, Christ Church, Barbade, 19-20 Novembre 2018. Informe de la octava sesión del Grupo Asesor Científico, Christ Church, Barbados, 19-20 de Noviembre de 2018. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report/Rapport sur les pêches et l’aquaculture/Informe de Pesca y Acuicultura. No. 1266. Bridgetown, 156 pp.  Click to open
All references to figures, tables and bibliography in the text are found within the source of information.
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