Ecology, life history, and fisheries potential of the flathead lobster (Thenus orientalis) in the Arabian Gulf | Scientific Publications Office

Ecology, life history, and fisheries potential of the flathead lobster (Thenus orientalis) in the Arabian Gulf

Lotfi Rabaoui, Lamia Yacoubi, Yu-Jia Lin, Thadickal V. Joydas, Mohammad A. Qurban, Panickan Premlal, Jinoy Gopalan, Zahid Nazeer, Manambrakat Vijayakumaran, Syed Ajmal Khan, and Rubén H. Roa-Ureta
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Article published online 20 April 2022

This study, which included examination of the distribution and life history of and a stock assessment of the flathead lobster (Thenus orientalis), is the first of its kind in the waters of Saudi Arabia in the Arabian Gulf, also known as the Persian Gulf. The flathead lobster is widely distributed in this region, although it is more abundant in the central and northern Arabian Gulf. Carapace lengths at 50% and 95% maturity are 59 and 65 mm for females and 58 and 71 mm for males. The fecundity of 4 berried females ranged from 26,000 to 76,000 eggs per spawning, and the fertilization rate exceeded 97%. Length–frequency data were consistent with just 2 cohorts, indicating that this species has a short life span and high growth coefficient (K=0.846 year−1). Large fishing boats (called dhows) accounted for more than 98% of the total landings. Estimates of natural mortality rates from use of generalized depletion models have high statistical precision and a magnitude compatible with short life history. In addition, abundance levels estimated with the depletion model are sufficient to support a sustainable small-scale fishery either as bycatch of shrimp trawlers or as a resource targeted with specialized gear. A targeted fishery for flathead lobster could be set during the off months of the shrimp trawl fishery (February–July), reducing interference with the reproduction cycle.

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