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Status and Trends - Executive Summary

Download the 2017 Status and Trends Report
This file includes the executive summary, introduction, methods, materials, results, and recommendations.

Executive Summary

This is the twenty-second year that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute Stock Assessment Group has produced the Status and Trends Report. This year’s report summarizes the available 1992-2016 commercial and recreational landings, fishing effort, fishery catch rates, and the 1997-2016 fisheries-independent sampling effort, and young-of-the-year and post-young-of-the-year abundance indices for 135 species or groups. The condition of these species or groups was determined using information from recent stock assessments, when available. Otherwise, the condition was assessed using available commercial landings rates, recreational total-catch rates, and fishery independent abundance indices. The status determination and supporting trend-analyses reported here are designed to highlight potential areas of concern about recent substantial changes in Florida’s diverse marine fisheries.

The ascribed conditions and trends reported here are not intended to replace stock assessments. Stock assessments entail in-depth analyses where the population dynamics of a particular species are thoroughly investigated using available biological, ecological, and fisheries data.

Summaries of the data on life history, ecology, fishery characteristics, fish health, and recent stock assessments are provided for six important species or species groups of special interest to Florida’s fisheries managers: blue crab, red drum, stone crab, Caribbean spiny lobster, common snook, and spotted seatrout. During alternate years, we update ‘species accounts’ for an additional 42 species or species groups.

Most species or groups on the Atlantic coast in 2016 were judged stable (73 species or groups). One were determined to be increasing and another was determined to be decreasing. Fifty-nine were too rarely caught to determine their status. Similarly on the gulf coast, most of the species or groups were stable (92), Two were increasing, two were decreasing, and 37 were too rarely caught to determine their status. Valid data for two species were assumed to be available only from the waters along Florida’s Atlantic coast: weakfish and American shad.

Compared to last year’s report, the number of stable groups this year were fewer on the Atlantic coast (1 less) and fewer on the Gulf coast (7 less). The number of increasing groups were higher this year on both coasts (1 more). The numbers of decreasing groups remained the same on the Atlantic coast but increased on the Gulf coast. 

Oysters (invertebrate) on the Gulf coast have shown consecutive ‘decreasing’ status the last four years.