Failed recovery of a collapsed scallop (Argopecten ventricosus) fishery in Las Perlas Archipelago, Panama

Beatriz Medina, Hector M. Guzman, James M. Mair

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    18 Citations (Scopus)


    The scallop Argopecten ventricosus (Sowerby II 1842) supported an important fishery in the Gulf of Panama (Pacific Panama) during 1981-1990, but the fishery essentially collapsed in 1991. To determine if the A. ventricosus population in one major fishing ground, Las Perlas Archipelago, has recovered almost 15 years after that collapse, we interviewed fishermen, reviewed historical data about scallop export markets and fishing grounds, and assessed the state of the scallop population using traditional local trawling methods. During four expeditions (2000-2004), we intensively surveyed 183 trawling stations, which included the major shallow fishery sites as well as other deeper areas within the archipelago. We collected hundreds of relic adult and juvenile scallop shells, but we retrieved only 30 live individuals. This suggests that minimal recruitment has occurred in the archipelago and that the fishery remains collapsed. We argue that this population's failure to recover may be because of a lack of suitable available habitats for juveniles, predation and variation in local oceanographic conditions, as previously suggested. Further studies are needed to fully determine why the scallop population has failed to recover. Application of mariculture techniques may be required to restore the stock and repopulate A. ventricosus natural banks in Las Perlas Archipelago.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-15
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


    • Argopecten
    • Fishery collapse
    • Overfishing
    • Panama
    • Scallop


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