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Individual study: An unfished area enhances a spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, fishery: implications for management and conservation within a Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican Caribbean

Published source details

Ley-Cooper K., De L.S., Phillips B.F. & Lozano-Álvarez E. (2014) An unfished area enhances a spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, fishery: implications for management and conservation within a Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican Caribbean. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 21, 264-274


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit commercial fishing Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

A site comparison study in 2011–2012 of two areas in the Caribbean Sea, Mexico (Ley‐Cooper et al. 2014) found that Carribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus grew larger in an area where commercial fishing was banned compared to a fished area, and that a high proportion of the lobster population in the unfished area stayed there over the duration of the study and thus remained protected. Lobster sizes were greater in the unfished area (94 mm) compared to the fished area (73 mm). In the unfished area, this corresponded to 99% of lobsters being bigger than the minimum legal catch size (74.5 mm), while in the fished area it corresponded to only 25%. In addition, an estimated 20% of the lobster population occurring in the unfished area moved to the fished area over the duration of the study, thus 80% remained protected inside the unfished area. The study was carried out in a Biosphere Reserve (year of designation unspecified) which restricted commercial fishing to shallow depths (<20 m) and banned it where depths exceed 20 m (see paper for details). In August–September 2011, lobsters were hand-caught from the unfished area, tagged, sized (carapace length) and released in the unfished area (379 in total). During the 2011/2012 fishing season in the fished area, all lobsters caught by fishermen were sized, and tagged lobsters recorded. A tag-recapture model based on the number of recaptured tagged lobsters (20 in total) was used to estimate the percentage of the lobster population moving from the protected to the fished area.

(Summarised by Anaëlle Lemasson)

Designate a Marine Protected Area with a zonation system of activity restrictions Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

A site comparison study in 2011–2012 of two areas within a marine protected area in the Caribbean Sea, Mexico (Ley‐Cooper et al. 2014) found that Caribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus grew larger in an area where commercial fishing was banned compared to a fished area, and that the majority of the lobster population in the unfished area remained protected. Lobster sizes were greater in the unfished area (94 mm) compared to the fished area (73 mm). In the unfished area, this corresponded to 99% of lobsters being bigger than the minimum legal catch size (74.5 mm), while in the fished area it corresponded to only 25%. In addition, an estimated 20% of the lobster population occurring in the unfished area moved to the fished area, thus 80% remained protected. The study was carried out in a Biosphere Reserve (year of designation unspecified) which restricted commercial fishing to shallow depths (<20 m) and banned it where depths exceed 20 m (see paper for details). In August–September 2011, lobsters were hand-caught from the unfished area, tagged, sized (carapace length) and released in the unfished area (379 in total). During the 2011/2012 fishing season in the fished area, all lobsters caught by fishermen were sized, and tagged lobsters recorded. A tag-recapture model based on the number of recaptured tagged lobsters (20 in total) was used to estimate the percentage of the lobster population moving from the protected to the fished area.

(Summarised by Anaëlle Lemasson)