Ecological and genetic basis for sustainable fishery for the Atlantic seabob shrimp Xiphopenaeus kroyeri in the Guianan Ecoregion, South America

Progress not set: October 2015 -

Tropical shrimp fisheries provide an important food source and income for people in developing countries. Shrimp fisheries are however one of the most destructive ways of fishing and up to 50% of the tropical shrimp stocks are overexploited, thereby threatening the livelihood of the people depending on them. In the Guianan Ecoregion, South America, the Atlantic seabob shrimp Xiphopenaeus kroyeri is nowadays the most important shrimp resource and the fishery for the species has taken important steps towards sustainability. However, some pivotal questions on the species and population structure and the ecology of X. kroyeri still need to be addressed in order to come to an ecosystem approach to the fishery for the species. In this VLIR-UOS funded research, the occurrence of multiple species of Xiphopenaeus, as is the case in Brazil, and its population structure will be investigated in the Guianan Ecoregion (roughly Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana) . Integrative taxonomy will be applied to delimitate the species, using a combination of genetic markers (mitochondrial and nuclear genes) and phenotypic characteristics. The population genetic structure will be analysed using microsatellites. A second part of the research will focus on the life cycle of the seabob. Based on the densities of different ontogenetic stages captured in coastal habitats, seasonal patterns will be elucidated and recruitment periods will be determined. Next to that, the importance of mangroves for different ontogenetic stages of the species will be assessed and the role of mangroves in the feeding ecology of X. kroyeri will be investigated by using a combination of stable isotope and fatty acid analyses. Knowledge on the use of mangroves by X. kroyeri will also help to increase the awareness of these important habitats. The results obtained during this research will further increase the sustainability of the fishery for X. kroyeri.