Stock assessment of the Tigertooth croaker, Otolithes ruber (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) from the commercial prawn trawl fishery by-catch in coastal Kenya
Commercial bottom prawn trawling has been reported to generate a higher proportion of by-catch of up to 70% in Kenya. The Tigertooth croaker, Otolithes ruber is one of the species caught in large quantities as commercial by-catch and also by artisanal fishers. This has led to growing concern that the species could be at risk of over-exploitation. The purpose of this study was to carry out a stock assessment of O. ruber. Stock assessment parameters were estimated using ELEFAN with the generic algorithm as included in the R package TropFishR. The length-converted catch curve and the length-based yield per recruit model were employed. The exploitation rate (F/Z = 0.71) indicates that the stock is overfished based on the length-converted catch curve. The current fishing mortality (F = 2.3) based on the catch curve is larger than the reference level ( = 1.1) based on the yield per recruit analysis and also indicates that the stock is overfished (= 2.09). To reverse the current trend of exploitation, improved management of the stock is required, which should include further studies on other by-catch species and the generation of data to capture the whole fishery for a better estimation of stock status.
Copyright is owned by the journal.