Wednesday, September 15, 2010: 9:00 AM
318 (Convention Center)
The shrimp trawl fishery in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) removes a diverse community of bycatch species from the ecosystem. The species discarded in the shrimp fishery include a number of commercially harvested species as well as a host of species that are not harvested but may have effects on ecosystem functioning. To successfully manage the GOM fisheries in an ecosystem context, an understanding of the biotic community associated with the shrimp fishery is needed. The large-scale fishery-independent trawl surveys from the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) provides an opportunity examine shifts in this community’s structure. A number of multidimensional community metrics were explored as well as changes/shifts in species abundance distributions by area, depth, and time. Output from these analyses can be used to create a suite of ecosystem indicators for the northwestern GOM. These metrics and indices also allow identification of ecosystem level changes in relation commercial fishing effort, specifically related to the red snapper and shrimp fisheries.