This article is an introduction to "Florida's Inshore and
Nearshore Species: 2010 Status and Trends Report."
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This is the seventeenth year that the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Commission‟s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Stock Assessment Group has produced the Status and Trends Report.
This year's report summarizes the available 1992-2009 commercial
and recreational landings, fishing effort, fishery catch rates, and
the 1997-2009 fisheries-independent sampling effort, and
young-of-the-year and post-young-of-the-year abundance indices for
136 species or groups. The condition of these species or groups was
determined using information from recent stock assessments, when
available. Otherwise, the condition was assessed using available
commercial landings rates, recreational total-catch rates, and
fishery independent abundance indices. The status determination and
supporting trend-analyses reported here are designed to highlight
potential areas of concern about recent substantial changes in
Florida‟s diverse marine fisheries.
The ascribed conditions and trends reported
here are not intended to replace stock assessments. Stock
assessments entail in-depth analyses where the population dynamics
of a particular species are thoroughly investigated using available
biological, ecological, and fisheries data.
Summaries of the data on life history,
ecology, fishery characteristics, fish health, and recent stock
assessments are provided for forty-eight important species or
species groups of special interest to Florida's fisheries managers.
During alternate years, we focus attention on six species (blue
crab, red drum, stone crab, Caribbean spiny lobster, common snook,
and spotted seatrout) and update the "species accounts" of the
other species or groups.
Most species or groups on the Atlantic coast
in 2009 were judged stable (69 species or groups). Twelve were
increasing, seven were decreasing, and 46 were too rarely caught to
determine their status. Similarly on the gulf coast, most of the
species or groups were stable (91), nine were increasing, 12 were
decreasing, and 20 were too rarely caught to determine their
status. Valid data for two species were assumed to be available
only from the waters along Florida‟s Atlantic coast: weakfish and
Compared to last year's report, the numbers
of stable or increasing groups this year were higher on the
Atlantic coast (five more) and the same on the gulf coast. Although
the species or groups changed, the numbers in the three stock trend
categories (decreasing, stable, or increasing) remained similar to
the numbers from last year. Some species or groups that were judged
either increasing or decreasing last year moved into the stable
category this year (10 on the Atlantic coast and 10 on the gulf
Ballyhoo, white mullet, swordfish, blue crab,
hamlets, and anemones on the Atlantic coast and pompano, trunkfish,
and snails on the gulf coast have shown consecutive "decreasing"
status the last two years. Porgies, vermilion snapper, bigeye tuna,
hard clams, and crabs (marine life) on the Atlantic coast and
yellowedge grouper, porgies, silver seatrout, red snapper,
vermilion snapper, and tilefish on the Gulf coast have shown
consecutive "increasing" status the last two years.