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Marine fish species can exhibit sex‐specific differences in their biological traits. Not accounting for these characteristics in the stock assessment or management of a species can lead to misunderstanding its population dynamics and result in ineffective regulatory strategies. Summer Flounder Paralichthys dentatus, a flatfish that supports significant commercial and recreational fisheries along the northeastern U.S. shelf, expresses variation in several traits between the sexes, including growth and habitat preference. To further understand these patterns, 1,302 Summer Flounder were collected and sexed in 2016 and 2017 from fisheries‐independent surveys conducted in Rhode Island state waters. Female flounder were more prevalent in shallow waters (≤15 m) through all months, but males had a greater presence in deeper waters (>15 m) from May through September. The probability of a collected flounder being female was evaluated with generalized linear models and covariates representing depth, temperature, month, year, and TL. Summer Flounder were more likely to be female at larger sizes, in shallower waters, and late in the season. When compared with landings data in the recreational fishery over the sampling period, the results suggest that nearly all flounder harvested in the sector were female. This work provides further evidence for and characterization of Summer Flounder sex‐segregation and highlights, for management purposes, the importance of considering fine‐scale spatial dynamics in addition to broader distribution patterns. The fitted model represents an effective first step toward understanding the implications of an aggregated fishing effort for disproportionate removals of male or female flounder and for exploring resulting consequences for regional spawning stock biomass and stock resiliency.
Langan, J.A., McManus, M.C., Schonfeld, A.J., Truesdale, C.L. and Collie, J.S. (2019), Evaluating Summer Flounder Spatial Sex‐Segregation in a Southern New England Estuary. Mar Coast Fish, 11: 76-85. https://doi.org/10.1002/mcf2.10065
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