African Journal of Marine Science

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A note on reduced rock lobster growth rates and related environmental anomalies in the southern Benguela, 1988-1995

DE Pollock, AC Cockcroft, PC Goosen


A series of environmental perturbations in the southern Benguela upwelling system off the Cape west coast as had dramatic effects on the productivity of the rock lobster Jasus lalandii, a keystone predator of the nearshore ecosystem. Reduced lobster growth rates adversely affected annual recruitment to the legal size range, and Total Allowable Catches were drastically reduced during the early 1990s. The widespread nature of
the reduction in lobster growth rates indicate a large-scale environmental perturbation. Productivity changes in the southern Benguela, associated with the anomalous El Niño years of 1990-1993, are believed to be the main
cause of the phenomenon.

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