Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus
) is one of the most valuable shellfish resources in the Mediterranean and the northeast Atlantic. Sustainable management of its fishery require long-term scientific monitoring of its stocks. Population dynamics, fishery, and exploitation status of the Norway lobster were studied over a long time series (between 2008 and 2014) in a semi enclosed gulf in Easter Mediterranean (Pagasitikos Gulf). Sampling was carried out using a commercial bottom trawl with a codend mesh size of 28 mm in three different regions within the Gulf. Sex was identified macroscopically and all individuals were measured and weighed. Growth and Age groups were investigated by analysis of length–frequency distributions of the Carapace length (CL) for both sexes. Fishing, Natural and Total Mortality, along with Exploitation rate of the total stock were estimated by the FiSAT software package. Females were further examined and classified based on their maturity stage and the size at onset of sexual maturity was estimated by Probit analysis. Temporal differences in mean CL were detected for both sexes, with a tendency of lower values each year, along with a respective increase in Fishing Mortality and Exploitation Rate, indicating the effects of fishing pressure over the population. Size at onset of sexual maturity was estimated at 32.6 mm, higher than the official mesh sizes for creels (28 mm) and gillnets (26 mm). According to the analyses, the local Norway lobster stock is over-exploited, which should be taken under consideration by the regional policy makers.
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