Title: Recruitment and population dynamics of the Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) in the gulf of Batabanó, Cuba

Final project
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Caribbean spiny lobster Panulirus argus supports the most valuable fishery in Cuba. Despite the improvement of the management system catches have not recovered. Studies of factors outside the fishery that may be affecting lobster populations, mainly the recruitment process are of importance. Therefore, the first objective of this project was to evaluate the effect of tropical storms on recruitment in the Gulf of Batabanó and the second was evaluate the suitability of the Gadget model for the stock assessment of spiny lobster, and compare the results with the age-structured assessment model applied. Simple correlations were first explored between the recruitment indices for the three different life-stages (puerulus, juveniles and preadults) and the power dissipation index of tropical cyclones. Followed by cross-correlation analysis for the time series. A generalized linear model approach was applied to combine the effects. These models were compared using the second order Akaike information criterion and the Akaike weights. Moreover using the catch available, together with the survey abundance index and the catch per unit effort, a Gadget model was applied. The recruitment process has a high interannual variability, with some seasonality. There was not a strong correlation between the recruitment indices and the tropical cyclones index, the majority showed a slight positive effect of the tropical cyclones on the recruitment. The best relationship on the preadults index were found by combining the effect of the puerulus settlement with 17 months of time lag, the juvenile index with 5 months of time lag and the tropical cyclones index with 18 months of time lag. The Gadget model fit to the survey abundance index and the catch per unit effort was poor but with length distributions was better. The growth parameter used in the Gadget model resulted in lower growth than is estimated for the species. The population estimates, recruitment and biomass, for the spiny lobster by Gadget model are lower than those estimated by the VPA model. While the fishing mortality rate is higher by the Gadget model. Further development of the Gadget model for the spiny lobster is warranted.

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