1997 Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment

This article is an update of the status of the Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus, fishery in Florida as reported to the Marine Fisheries Commission.

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1997 Update on Florida's Atlantic croaker fishery
report to the Marine Fisheries Commission

Gil McRae
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Marine Research Institute
St. Petersburg, FL
August 6, 1997


Since 1989, total annual statewide landings have generally been less than one million pounds. Total 1996 landings (294,000 lbs) are the lowest on record. Recent reductions in landings are primarily due to a re-direction of fishing effort rather than population decline.

The vast majority of Atlantic croaker landed in Florida are taken by recreational anglers. During 1982-1996 an average of 89% (by weight) of total Atlantic croaker landed (average total landings = 2.3 million lbs) were taken by the recreational fishery. In 1996, 90% of total Atlantic croaker landings were from the recreational fishery.

In the commercial fishery, there has been a shift in gear used for Atlantic croaker associated with the net ban. Prior to the implementation of the ban, most Atlantic croaker were taken with gillnets or trawls. The predominant commercial gears used during the period following the net ban were haul seines and cast nets.

Commercial catch-per-trip of Atlantic croaker declined steadily on the Atlantic coast from 1987-1991, but remained stable during 1992-1996. On the Gulf coast, catch-per-trip also declined steadily during the period 1986-1990, but catch rates display a slight increasing trend after 1991.

Recreational catch rates for Atlantic croaker on the Atlantic coast have remained very stable during the period 1982-1996. On the Gulf coast, catch rates were more variable in the early-mid 1980s, but remained relatively stable from 1986-1996.

Recruitment of Atlantic croaker, as measured in fishery independent surveys, has been stable on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for at least the past three years.

There is no evidence to indicate that Atlantic croaker are overfished in Florida.

For other information:
Stock assessments for finfish and invertebrate

Atlantic croaker species account

Prior to July 1, 2004, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute was known as the Florida Marine Research Institute. The institute name has not been changed in historical articles and articles that directly reference work done by the Florida Marine Research Institute.

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