Spiny lobster, Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804), inhabits the western central Atlantic from northeastern Brazil to Bermuda, including the Caribbean Sea. Within this distribution range, the species supports fisheries of great economic importance, reaching over US$456 million to fishers per year. The Pan-Caribbean origin of the recruitment to the fisheries was postulated in the early 1980s under the assumption that larval and puerulus stages are resident in the pelagic environment for up to 9 mo or more and that persistent ocean currents prevailing throughout the region facilitate population dispersal. Genetic studies in the late 1990s provided further evidence of the homogeneity of spiny lobster populations from Brazil to Bermuda. Recruitment mechanisms of some of these populations and their contributions and linkages to local populations point to the likelihood of common population dynamics of P. argus in the western central Atlantic. Considerable associations are shown between production functions throughout the fisheries as well as generic catchability patterns that are used in bio-economic models to portray the intense levels of exploitation of this important regional resource. There is a great similarity in the approach and action of conservation measures throughout the region. Sustainability criteria for the species are drawn based on the findings of regional analyses.
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