Assessment of a small-scale fishery: Lane Snapper (Lutjanus synagris) using a length metric method
Small-scale fisheries are hard to assess because of the limited availability of data. Therefore, a method requiring easy-to-obtain catch-data is important for the assessment and management of small-scale fisheries. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of fishing gear selectivity on a length-based metric method proposed by Froese by estimating three indicators using catch-data from Lane Snapper (Lutjanus synagris) collected in Honduras. These indicators are (1) the percentage of mature individuals in the catch, (2) the percentage of fish within the range of estimated optimal lengths to be captured, and (3) the percentage of fish larger than the optimal length. These indicators determine the level of overfishing. The indicators were estimated separately for catch-data corresponding to gill nets, and each indicator was estimated with and without selectivity correction. Selectivity and mesh sizes of the fishing gear had a major impact on the estimation of indicators 1 and 2. As for indicator 3, it consistently showed a high level of exploitation. The three estimated indicators suggested that the Lane Snapper fishery in Honduras is experiencing overfishing. Overall, the method appears to be promising for the assessment of small-scale fisheries, but it should be used cautiously.