Status and Trends - Introduction

This article is an introduction to "Florida's Inshore and Nearshore Species: 2010 Status and Trends Report."

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

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 American shad.

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 coast).

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.



FWC Facts:
Gulf sturgeon can grow to a maximum length of about 8 feet and weigh approximately 150-220 pounds.

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