1997 Spot Stock Assessment

This report provides an update to the Marine Fisheries Commission on the status of the Spot, Leiostomus xanthurus, fishery in Florida.

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

Gil McRae, Robert G. Muller, and Richard Paperno
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Marine Research Institute
St. Petersburg, FL
July 10, 1997



Landings of spot in Florida consist largely of commercial catch from the central Atlantic coast. The implementation of constitutional amendment 3, which banned entangling gears from nearshore waters beginning in July 1995, has eliminated the traditional fall gill net fishery for spot.

Statewide commercial landings of spot in 1996 were only 5% (by weight) of average 1983-1994 levels. There has been a shift in gear used for spot associated with the net ban. On the Atlantic coast, haul seines and cast nets predominate, while cast nets are most common on the Gulf coast. Neither of these gears are as efficient as gill nets for catching spot. Commercial catch per trip dropped in 1996 as result of the use of less efficient gears.

Recreational landings have traditionally been small relative to the commercial catch. The recreational proportion of the total catch has increased following the net ban. During 1986-1995 recreational landings accounted for only 9% of total landings on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In 1996, recreational landings accounted for 33% and 24% of total landings on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, respectively.

Recreational catch per trip fluctuated slightly and without trend on the Atlantic coast from 1982-1996. Estimates of recreational catch and effort on the Gulf coast are imprecise due to low numbers of intercepts, but appear to have remained relatively stable throughout the period of record.

Recruitment of spot, as measured in fishery independent surveys, was fairly stable in the early 1990s, increased during 1993-1995, and declined slightly in 1996. Fisheries dependent indices of recruitment agree fairly well with those derived from fishery independent sampling.

Reduced fishing pressure due to the net ban should result in higher and more stable recruitment in the future.

For other information:
Stock assessments for finfish and invertebrate
Spot 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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