Identifying Tropical Penaeid Recruitment Patterns

R. Watson, C. T. Turnbull, K. J. Derbyshire, (1996). Marine and freshwater research 47, 77-85.

Knowledge of recruitment patterns is a requisite for modern fisheries management. These patterns can range in complexity from a single pulse of identically sized and aged prawns, which is often assumed in fisheries models, to continuous recruitment by prawns of several ages. Existing techniques used to identify recruitment patterns range from the ad hoc use of size limits to more complex methods that examine changes in length-frequency modes through time. A model that allowed variable growth of individuals was used to simulate monthly length-frequency fisheries data from a range of recruitment patterns of varying complexity. The effectiveness of a range of methods to identify these underlying recruitment patterns was examined. Length-frequency survey data from tropical penaeid fisheries for Penaeus esculentus, the brown tiger prawn, in two locations off north-eastern Australia (Torres Strait and Turtle Island Group) were also subjected to these methods. Methods that employed simple truncation by length successfully identified simple recruitment patterns but were not effective for multi-age recruitment patterns. Only the length-cohort and age-cohort methods could identify the presence of older recruits in multi-age patterns. All methods were sensitive to estimates of growth parameters, particularly the cohort-based methods. Results suggest that P. esculentus from the two fisheries examined had different recruitment patterns requiring different management approaches.