University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science scientists have found concrete evidence that more than 85 percent of the grouper and snapper studied are overfished. It is a direct result of increasing human demand for seafood.
Scientists analysed 30 years of population data. They have analysed 15 coral reef fish species central to South Florida’s commercial and recreational fisheries. They have used their length-based risk analysis framework.
Scientists found that three out of the five grouper species and two grunts analysed were below the 40 percent minimum spawning potential ratio. It is a regulation necessary to sustain fish populations.
For black grouper, scientists increased the current minimum catch size from 24 inches to 44 inches. As the spawning population would grow to 40 percent. This will be large enough to produce a meaningful number of new juveniles. It would take 10 years for the population to recover to a point.
It was minimally sustainable and 22 years to reach equilibrium. There a sustainable catch becomes possible. The study has been published in the journal Fisheries Research. The study provides a blueprint to effectively balance fishery production. It will help to reduce overfishing and protect these valuable fish populations now and in the future.