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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744


CALA, Yuself R; NAVARRETE, Alberto de Jesús; OCANA, Frank A  and  OLIVA RIVERA, José. Density, size structure and reproductive activity of the pink conch Eustrombus gigas (Mesogastropoda: Strombidae) in Banco Chinchorro, Mexico. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2013, vol.61, n.4, pp.1657-1669. ISSN 0034-7744.

The pink conch Eustrombus gigas is an important fisheries resource. At the regional level in the Caribbean, over-exploitation and habitat destruction have caused a decrease in the abundance of this resource. In order to provide necessary information for the species management in Mexico, this work aimed to analyze the total density, adult density, size structure and reproductive behavior of pink conch population at Banco Chinchorro during 2009-2010. Data from three seasons were obtained (rainy, dry and cold fronts periods) in three areas: Norte (North), Centro (Center) and Sur (South). The organisms were separated into two groups: (a) the criteria based upon legal harvest in Mexico: legal size conchs (siphonal length≥200mm) and illegal size conchs (siphonal length<200mm), and (b) the criteria based upon sexual maturity using the 15mm lip thickness standard: lip<15mm as juvenile conch and lip≥15mm as adult conch. Copulation, spawning, egg masses and aggregations were evaluated as reproductive evidences. The highest total density was observed during the dry season with 384ind./ha, and the lowest during the rainy season with 127ind./ha. The highest density was reported at Sur (385ind./ha) and the lowest at Norte (198ind./ha). The highest adult density was observed during the rainy season (8.33ind./ha), and the lowest occurred in the dry season (6.11ind./ha). Adult density values were 5.55, 7.05 and 8.33ind./ha for Centro, Sur and Norte areas, respectively. Adult densities were lower than the threshold needed for reproduction, and 42% of the population may be vulnerable to fishing, as they had the minimum size for catch (Lsi 200mm). Furthermore, only 2.2% of the population reached a Gl>15mm as sexual maturity indicator. During the study period, only six evidences of reproductive activity were observed. The smaller densities reported at Banco Chinchorro may cause reproduction events to be almost absent which in turn is sufficient evidence to show that the Allee Effect is acting on the queen conch population and there is an urgent need of fishery closure. Three important points were proposed for management of queen conch at Banco Chinchorro: total closure of fishing, systematic assessment of the conch population and the implementation of conch fishing refuge. Rev. Biol. Trop. 61 (4): 1657-1669. Epub 2013 December 01

Keywords : Allee effect; overfishing,; reproduction; protected areas; Eustrombus gigas.

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