The aim of this study was to apply indicators for monitoring the impacts of harvest in a recreational surf clam fishery. We investigated trends in abundance, biomass and size structure and proportion of sexual maturity for the pipi (Donax deltoides) in Venus Bay, Australia. The surf clam stock was sampled during the peak harvesting season in the Australian summer (November to February) at four sites exposed to varying degrees of recreational harvest. Sampling was based on three transects at each site; with 0.027 m3 (0.3 m × 0.3 m × 0.3 m) quadrats stratified within transects by tidal position. Restricted maximum likelihood mixed model analyses were used to examine fixed effect combinations after including a priori random effect for transect within site. Results demonstrated that relative abundance varied significantly (P = 0.0090) among sampling months but not among sites. Relative abundance declined across the peak summer harvest season. The proportion of maturity varied significantly (P = 0.00026) among sites whereas relative biomass varied significantly (P = 0.0043) among months by sites. Relative biomass and the proportion of maturity were considerably higher at the site exposed to minimal harvest compared to other sites. This study demonstrates that a suite of indictors including biomass, size-frequency and proportion of maturity are likely to provide a more accurate assessment of stock status in recreationally fished surf clam populations, than relative abundance. This highlights the need to develop methods to estimate relative biomass in surf clam populations that are not exploited commercially.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of The Marine Biological Association of The United Kingdom|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2013|
- fisheries management
- recreational harvest