Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Chair

Dr. Robert Leaf

Committee Chair Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Member 2

Dr. Mark Peterson

Committee Member 2 Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Committee Member 3

Dr. J. Read Hendon

Committee Member 3 Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Abstract

Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) is the most popular recreational inshore fishery in Mississippi coastal waters. Because of the popularity of Spotted Seatrout in Mississippi as a recreational target and the magnitude of harvest, quantitative approaches to describe the population and fishery dynamics of the Mississippi stock are needed to continue the sustainability of the stock. Quantitative approaches to describing stock dynamics are useful because they can help describe population characteristics, assess the current status of the stock, and be used to evaluate alternative management strategies. In this thesis, I use a suite of quantitative methods to describe, evaluate, and assess the population and fishery dynamics of the Mississippi Spotted Seatrout stock. Specifically, I describe the Spotted Seatrout length-at-age relationship using a multi-model approach, evaluate the potential effects of different management regimes on the yield, reproductive output, and length structure on the Mississippi Spotted Seatrout stock, and evaluate the status of the Mississippi Spotted Seatrout stock using a statistical catch-at-age model. The results of this project can be used to better inform and support the management of Spotted Seatrout in Mississippi.

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