Spatial and temporal patterns in the sex ratio of American lobsters (Homarus americanus) in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada

S. Koepper, C. W. Revie, H. Stryhn, K. F. Clark, S. Scott-Tibbetts, K. K. Thakur

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Abstract

An approximate 1:1 sex ratio of American lobsters can be skewed due to environmental factors or fisheries management. Substantial skewness can impact mating behaviour and lower reproduction which could have far-reaching ecological and economic consequences. The aim was to investigate the sex ratio patterns of lobsters in two lobster fishing areas (LFAs) in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada and identify factors associated with skewed sex ratios. This study analyzed biological data from more than 270,000 lobsters sampled over ten years (2010–2019) by the Fishermen and Scientists Research Society. A mixed effect logistic regression model evaluated the effect of spatial, temporal and environmental factors as well as size on the sex ratio of lobsters. There were significant temporal patterns in sex ratios that differed by LFA. After the effects of sampling month, year and LFA were accounted for, lower bottom temperature and deeper water depth were associated with a higher prevalence of females, especially in larger lobsters. We present the first long term analyses of sex ratio patterns in H. americanus in Atlantic Canada's most commercially important region for this species and provide evidence that these patterns are influenced by environmental factors and fisheries. In view of future climate change scenarios, monitoring the population dynamics of this iconic fishery species is crucial to ensure sustainable fisheries and healthy lobster stocks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24100
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • American lobsters
  • lobster fishing
  • Nova Scotia

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