Scientia Marina, Vol 70, No 3 (2006)

Spatial variation in size at onset of maturity of female southern rock lobster Jasus edwardsii around Tasmania, Australia

Caleb Gardner
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia

Stewart Frusher
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia

Neville Barrett
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia

Malcolm Haddon
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia

Colin Buxton
Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia


P align=justify>The size at onset of maturity (SOM) of female Jasus edwardsii (Hutton, 1875) was estimated at 50 sites around Tasmania, Australia, based on the presence of ovigerous setae. There was a distinct spatial cline with the largest SOM being found at northwestern sites and the smallest at southwestern sites. Variation in SOM between sites was substantial and ranged from 59 mm to 112 mm carapace length. The observed decline in SOM from north to south was the reverse of that described for the same species at similar latitudes in New Zealand, which suggests that SOM in J. edwardsii is regulated by factors in addition to temperature. The effect of density on female SOM was investigated by comparing SOM estimates from two marine reserves with adjacent fished sites; however, there was no evidence of a decline in SOM with increasing density as predicted. A model of SOM predicted by latitude and longitude is described to facilitate spatial modelling of lobster stocks. The substantial and predictable spatial variation in SOM implies that management of this fishery would be improved by incorporating spatial elements, such as regional legal minimum size limits.



Jasus edwardsii; maturity; rock lobster; reproduction; spatial management

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