Title: Assessment of the Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) of Belize based on fishery-dependent data

Final project
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Belize; spiny lobster; age-based cohort analysis; CPUE; stock size; recruitment; fishing mortality.


The Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is the most valuable fishery resource of Belize. The lobster fishery is artisanal and uses low technology. Fishing has been done for the past 60 years as an “open access” system. Lobster tails are mostly destined for foreign markets and fishing cooperatives only has done exports. An attempt was made to assess the Spiny lobster of Belize based on fishery-dependent lobster tails export data collected from two fishing cooperatives. The results showed that lobster catches consist of two age groups (ages 2 and 3), which represent about 98% of catches. The few age groups identified did not allow for an adequate age-based cohort analysis and therefore caution should be observed in the interpretation of results. Catch per unit effort, stock size and recruitment levels appear to have declined during the period 1999 to 2009. Also, fishing mortality appears to be high and the fishery could be experiencing some over-fishing. Management intervention to reduce fishing effort could benefit the fishery. An increase in the minimum size limit is recommended.

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