Status of the Spiny Lobster (Crustacea: Palinuridae) Stocks Off Northeast Brazil in Relation to Fishing Effort and Environmental Conditions

by Antônio Adauto Fonteles-Filho, Lab de Ciencias do Mar, Brazil,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastlines of Brazil


Conditions for the development of relatively abundant populations of spiny lobsters of genus Panulirus, mainly P. argus and P. laevicauda, off Northeast Brazil are consistent with hydrologically stable waters and associated fluctuations in productivity that bear out balanced communities in response to two main features: high-salinity waters owing to low level of drainage into the continental shelf and abundance of the sedimentary facies known as calcareous algae, comprised of a mixture of species of family Coralli naceae. The lobster stocks have been submitted to heavy fishing since 1972. The trend for depletion has somewhat been halted by an expansion of the fishing area and consequent decrease in fishing intensity, allowing larger and older individuals to be added up to the overfished stocks. Nevertheless, species P. laevicauda seems to be losing biomass to the competing species (P. argus) by having been submitted to heavier effort over the last 5 years. Spiny lobsters are particularly vulnerable to salinity variation. At present, the lobster fishery, for its economic importance as a producer of high-price food items, is being closely monitored for signs of yield decline and identification of its causes, either from fishing pressure or changes in environmental conditions.

Subject Headings: Water-based recreation | Developing countries | Fish and fishery management | Vegetation | Salinity | Hydration | Hydrology | Drainage | Brazil | South America

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