Marine Science Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus in Florida, USA, are managed under four geographical regions, including Apalachicola Bay and Cedar Key (northwest region), Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor (southwest region), northeast Florida (northeast region), and the northern Indian River Lagoon (southeast region). Two of these management regions are composed of more than one major estuary system (northwest and southwest regions). However, previous life history research suggests that the management regions do not accurately reflect the unique biological populations of Spotted Seatrout in Florida. Our objective was to determine (1) whether there is significant spatial variation in size structure, the age–length relationship, and recruitment patterns among populations of Spotted Seatrout in Florida; and (2) whether there is agreement in these life history parameters among estuary populations comprising individual management regions. We used long-term fishery-independent and fishery-dependent data sets on recruitment, age, and size structure among six estuaries and the four management regions. Young-of-the-year recruitment patterns and the length-at-age relationship over all ages differed significantly among estuarine populations and within management regions. Additionally, all estuaries differed significantly in length distributions of Spotted Seatrout caught by the recreational fishery. Our results highlight the need to understand the relative contributions of estuary-specific data to regional assessment models if the four-region boundary scheme for Florida is continued. Moreover, as variation in growth and recruitment among estuaries likely reflects estuary-specific environmental conditions, we suggest that environmental variables be considered in future assessments and management of this recreationally valuable species.

Rights Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine and Coastal Fisheries, v. 11, issue 1, p. 97-111

Included in

Life Sciences Commons