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To estimate the growth of the hard‐to‐age Caribbean spiny lobster Panulirus argus in the southeastern USA, a double‐maximum‐likelihood‐estimation method (referred to as the “likelihood model”) has been applied to the mark–recapture data collected in the Florida Keys from 1967 to 2003. Parameters related to the intermolt period and the growth increment have been assessed, and the uncertainty of the parameters has been estimated using the bootstrap resampling method. For better comparison with the previously published step‐wise growth models, an individual‐based model, in which the variance and covariance of model parameters were fully considered, has been developed to simulate growth transition matrices. The simulation results were compared directly by using the Frobenius Norm. The results indicated that the likelihood model produces a more conservative growth estimate with lower uncertainty. However, the likelihood weights should be set with caution. This study can improve our understanding of the growth of the Caribbean spiny lobster. The products can be directly used in the future for integrated size‐structured, stock assessment models for Caribbean spiny lobster; the methods can be easily adaptable to other crustacean species.


Originally Published in Marine in Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science.

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