Length-based indicators for the management of sport fishery in Yucatan, Mexico
López-Rocha, Jorge A.
Sportfishing is an activity of increasing popularity that involves a large number of users and high levels of fishing effort. In Yucatan, most of the target species in sport fishing are the same as those of commercial fisheries. However, there is no record of fishing effort or catch volumes. Thus the impact of sport fishing on these populations is unknown. This study analyzes the catches made by users of sport fisheries of nine species (Epinephelus morio, Haemulon plumieri, Seriola dumerili, Lutjanus synagris, Ocyurus chrysurus, Calamus bajonado, Sphyraena barracuda, S. guachancho and Mycteroperca bonaci) through length-based indicators. Samples of species’ sizes were obtained from the catches made during 10 fishing tournaments held in Yucatan's three-port towns (Sisal, Yucalpeten, and Telchac) between 2015 and 2016. The catch variables that were evaluated included: the number of mature individuals Pmat, optimal length Popt, and the number of mega-spawners Pmega. Length measures were derived from 1,252 individuals. Only H. plumieri, L. synagris, and S. guachancho exhibited sustainable indicator values, while E. morio and C. bajonado demonstrated extremely low values. In most species, sport fishing affects a high proportion of juveniles. The results suggest that sportfishing contributes to the fishing pressure of a species and commercial fishing, due to the capture of juveniles of economically important fish. It is essential to establish a systematic monitoring method of such activities and increase the priority level of the evaluation and management of this fishery.