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    Florida Pompano Size Limit Evaluation

    In this report, the impacts of raising the minimum size limit from 11 inches (FL) to 12
    inches (FL) in the Florida pompano fishery were evaluated

    Download the Evaluation of a 12-inch minimum size limit on the Florida pompano
    populations and fisheries in Florida Report (PDF 658 KB)

    Executive Summary

    In this report, the impacts of raising the minimum size limit from 11 inches (FL) to 12
    inches (FL) in the Florida pompano fishery were evaluated. It was assumed that the effects
    of all other existing regulatory measures remained unchanged. A catch-based projection
    and an equilibrium yield-per-recruit model were used for evaluating the impact of the
    proposed 12-inch minimum size limit on fishery yield and stock condition. These methods
    used information on the fisheries landings and size composition data reported for Florida
    pompano during 2006-09 from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida. Biological data, size
    selectivity patterns, and estimates of exploitation rates were also utilized for the evaluation.
    The size-frequency data were generally sparse for the 2006-09 periods and mostly limited
    to the hook-and-line samples from the commercial and recreational landings.

    The proportion of the average total landings in the size categories of 11-inch and smaller
    was fairly large, 45% on the Atlantic coast and 40% on the Gulf coast during 2006-09. The
    catch-based projection runs predicted that the annual landings of Florida pompano could
    potentially drop between 12% and 24% on the Atlantic coast and drop between 10% and
    21% on the Gulf coast with the implementation of the 12-inch minimum size limit under four
    different compliance rates (85%, 90%, 95%, and 100%). The projected annual landings
    reductions for 85% compliance were 12% on the Atlantic coast and 10% on the Gulf coast.
    The stock abundance of Florida pompano was predicted to increase by 19% on the Atlantic
    coast and 14% on the Gulf coast under the 85% compliance rate.

    Results from the length based yield per recruit analysis show that, at current levels of
    fishing mortality, raising the minimum size limit from 11 inches FL to 12 inches FL in the
    Florida pompano fishery, will result in an increase in the spawning biomass per recruit
    (SB/R) on both coasts of Florida. The SB/R was predicted to increase by 29% on the
    Atlantic coast and by 18% on the Gulf coast based on the ascending selectivity pattern.
    Slightly higher gains were estimated for the SB/R from the model runs with a knife-edge
    selectivity pattern. Estimates of the Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) for different
    combinations of size-at first capture (minimum size limits) and fishing mortality rates
    showed 1) The SPR increased with increase in minimum size limit; and 2) the risk of the
    SPR dropping below 20% was reduced significantly under the 12-inch minimum size limit if
    the fishing mortality increased above the existing rates.

    Results from these analyses must be viewed with caution. The size composition data used
    in the catch-based projections were limited mostly to the hook-and-line fishery low sample
    sizes. There was little size information available from the commercial gill-net fishery, which
    constitutes a large proportion of the total landings on the Gulf coast. A number of
    simplifying assumptions were made: 1) no stock-recruitment feedback was included in the
    projections; 2) models assumed constant fishing catchability and selectivity; 3) model
    projections did not include potential effects of other management measures (e.g., bag-
    limit, commercial vessel limit) already in place in the pompano fishery; and 4) the analysis
    assumed no interplay between the minimum size limit and other management measures
    in place in the fishery.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
    620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
    32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676

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