A description of the south Florida nighttime recreational tournament fishery for swordfish, Xiphias gladius
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A description of the south Florida nighttime recreational tournament fishery for swordfish, Xiphias gladius

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  • Journal Title:
    Bulletin of Marine Science
  • Description:
    Swordfish (Xiphias gladius Linnaeus, 1758) are increasingly sought after by recreational anglers globally. The Florida Straits in particular is an important breeding and nursery area for North Atlantic swordfish, as well as the historical fishing grounds for both recreational and commercial swordfish fisheries. The traditional nighttime recreational fishery for swordfish in southeastern Florida is categorized into two periods. The first period started in 1977 and consists of the first tournaments in the area to specifically target swordfish. Despite high initial catches, low catch numbers resulted in the conclusion of the swordfish tournament fishery in 1983. The second period of the fishery started in 2000 and continues to the present (2015). Data were collected from a total of 118 swordfish tournaments (17 historical, 101 modern). For comparison, data were also gathered from 66 billfish tournaments that occurred during the modern period. The tournaments studied occurred on the southeast coast of Florida from Stuart to Key West. Although participation correlated to the number of catches, catch per hour (CPH) remains on a slow decrease over time. The entry fees for modern period swordfish tournaments range from $200 to $1000, while those for the more exclusive billfish tournaments were tenfold higher. The average weight of landed swordfish remained roughly the same throughout the two time periods, despite the oscillation of catch numbers, which may be due to the minimum length restrictions implemented in the modern period tournaments. Analysis of the nighttime tournament fishery, especially across two distinct time periods, provides new insight into the swordfish stock.
  • Source:
    Bulletin of Marine Science 93(2):557-571, 2017
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