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Effects of sex-specific fishing mortality on sex ratio and population dynamics of Gulf of Mexico greater amberjack

Geoffrey H. Smith, Debra J. Murie, Daryl C. Parkyn
Fisheries research 2018 v.208 pp. 219-228
Seriola dumerili, fish, models, mortality, population dynamics, sex ratio, Gulf of Mexico, United States
The US Gulf of Mexico stock assessment of greater amberjack Seriola dumerili assumes a 1:1 male:female sex ratio. However, the observed sex ratio in the landed catch is 1:1.8, and for fish >1 m fork length is 1:2.4. To theoretically explore whether this female-skewed sex ratio may arise due to differential fishing mortality between the sexes, we used a sex-specific age- and size-based model to investigate how different fishing mortality rates could create a female-skew in the landed catch as well as its subsequent effects on reproductive potential. When fishing mortality rates in the model were equal between the sexes, the sex ratio of the landed catch was approximately 1:1 for all legal-sized fish, and approximately 1:2.4 for fish >1 m FL. However, reproductive potential decreased in comparison to the corresponding scenario with equal fishing mortality rates when fishing mortality rates between the sexes were changed to create the 1:1.8 sex ratio observed in the landed catch. This modeling study demonstrates one possible route that could explain the female-skewed sex ratios observed in the landed catch, and indicates that sex ratio values other than 1:1 should be considered in future stock assessments for Gulf of Mexico greater amberjack.