Injury in trapped Dungeness crabs (Cancer magister)

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Although traps are the most effective fishing equipment used to capture crabs they can also result in indirect damage to target species. We examined the effect of trap-soak time, crab density, and the legal to sublegal size ratio on injury rates to male Dungeness crabs, Cancer magister. Our field results show that injuries increase significantly with increased trap-soak time, and as a consequence of different size ratios (crabs in traps with a greater ratio of sublegal crabs had more injuries). The injury rate was independent of density. In a laboratory experiment, injured crabs were as capable as intact crabs of obtaining, defending, and consuming food. However, studies on other crab species indicate that injury reduces growth, delays reproduction, decreases mating success, and increases mortality. If the costs of injury are similar for Dungeness crabs, this could diminish the rate of recruitment into the fishery. © 2007 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Oxford Journals. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

ICES Journal of Marine Science