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Bag and size limit analyses for red drum in northern and southern regions of the U.S. Atlantic
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  • Description:
    "Assessments of the Atlantic red drum for the northern (North Carolina and north) and southern (South Carolina through east coast of Florida) regions along the U. S. Atlantic coast were recently completed. The joint Red Drum Technical Committee (SAFMC/ASMFC) selected the most appropriate catch matrix (incorporating an assumption on size of recreationally-released fish), selectivity of age 3 relative to age 2, and virtual population analysis (FADAPT). Given gear- and age-specific estimates of fishing mortality (F) for the 1992-1998 period, analyses were made of potential gains in escapement through age 4 and static spawning potential ratio (SPR) from further reductions in fishing mortality due to changes in slot and bag limits. Savings from bag limits were calculated given a particular slot size for the recreational fishery, with no savings for the commercial fisheries in the northern region due to their being managed primarily through a quota. Relative changes in catch-at-age estimates were used to adjust age-specific F and hence calculated escapement through age 4 and static SPR. Adjustment was made with the recreational savings to account for release mortality (10%, as in the stock assessment). Alternate runs for the northern region commercial fishery considered 25% release mortality for lengths outside the slot (instead of 0% for the base run), and 0% vs. 10% gain or loss across legal sizes in F. These results are summarized for ranges of bag limits with increasing minimum size limit (for fixed maximum size), and with decreasing maximum size limit (for fixed minimum size limit). For the southern region, a bag limit of one-fish per angler trip would be required to attain the stated target of 40% static SPR if the current slot limit were not changed. However, for the northern region, a bag limit of one-fish per angler trip appears to be insufficient to attain the stated target of 40% static SPR while maintaining the current slot limit"--Executive summary.
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