| Species groupings for management of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery - :18703 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Species groupings for management of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery
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    The Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006 requires regional fishery management councils to implement annual catch limits and accountability measures for all stocks under Federal management by 2011, to ensure overfishing does not occur. Many species are datalimited and have no formal stock assessment. One possible approach to managing these unassessed species is to assign them to assemblages that would be managed as units. The utility of this approach was evaluated using fishery-dependent and fishery-independent data from the Gulf of Mexico. Multivariate statistical analyses revealed several consistent assemblages among the 42 reef fish species managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. Pearson correlation matrices and nodal analyses provided additional guidance regarding the placement of rare species. Identified stock complexes and subcomplexes may be useful for fisheries management, as a management measure implemented for any member of a complex might be expected to result in a similar trajectory of fishing mortality rate (F) for other members of the complex. Productivity-Susceptibility Analysis and life history were also considered, as differences in productivity, vulnerability, life history, and other population dynamic parameters for species within complexes might imply different population responses to a similar change in F. Identified linkages between species also provide guidance for ecosystem-based management considerations such as the impacts of regulations upon multi-species fisheries.

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