2000 Bluefish Stock Assessment

This stock assessment, produced in 2001, addresses commercial and recreational landings, effort, condition of the stock, and additonal statistics.

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The 2000 update of the quota and stock assessment of bluefish,
Pomatomus saltatrix, on Florida's Atlantic coast

Robert G. Muller
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Marine Research Institute
St. Petersburg, FL
June 15, 2001


Commercial landings and effort were updated through 2000 but some of the data are still unedited and are considered preliminary for 2000. The commercial landings in 2000 of 140,987 pounds were less than the 877,000 pound commercial quota. No commercial trips exceeded the 7,500 pound trip limit. Gill nets remain the primary gear for harvesting bluefish and the low landings in recent years reflect the elimination of gill nets from state waters. Commercial catch rates in 2000 were less than those in 1999 and more similar to the rates in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Recreational landings and interview information was updated through 2000. Recreational landings were up from 1999 but still low. However, the recreational standardized total catch rates were also up when compared to those in 1999 and continue a generally increasing trend.

This update does not include any new headboat data but the time series was extended back to 1981.

The condition of the stock was assessed using a modified De Lury model which estimates the numbers of recruits that would be necessary to enter the fishery in order to produce the observed catches. In the course of identifying recruits, the model estimates the landings by sector, the catchability coefficients by sector and period, the numbers of fish at the beginning of each year, the average population during each year, and the instantaneous fishing mortality rates for each year. This year's model included data back to 1981 and calculated separate catchability coefficients for the period of 1981-1992 for all sectors, 1993-2000 for the recreational and headboat sectors, and 1993-1995 and 1996-2000 for the commercial which captures the effect of eliminating gill nets from state waters.

The model estimated a dramatic increase in population in 1994 and very low fishing mortality rates (about 0.10 or less per year) after 1995.

Under-sized fish are still being landed in all sectors but compliance has been good with the ten-fish bag limit and the commercial quota.

For other information:
Stock assessments for finfish and invertebrates
Bluefish species account

FWC Facts:
Scientists can determine the age of a fish by counting growth rings, similar to growth rings of a tree, on otoliths, the “inner ear bones” of fish.

Learn More at AskFWC