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Free Content Life History and Abundance of Blue Crab, Callinectes Sapidus Rathbun, at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina

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Data on blue crabs from 9 years of trawl collections in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, were analyzed to provide information on their life history and abundance. In a typical year, ovigerous female blue crab were collected from April through August, with catches peaking in July. The cohort of young crabs appeared in the trawls in October at a modal size of 30–35 mm CW. This cohort occurred preferentially at salinities below 25‰ while larger crabs, especially mature females, were more common at higher salinities. The males attained reproductively functional morphology during the early summer following their ingress (11 months after hatching) while the females matured the following fall or spring (15 to 20 months after hatching). The cohort reached legal harvestable size (127 mm CW) approximately 15 months after hatching.

The relationship between commercial landings, commercial fishing effort and catch per unit of census trawling effort was investigated. Variations in landings since 1979 seem to be the result of changes primarily in effort and, secondarily, in abundance. Greater knowledge of details of the life history of blue crabs is needed before fluctuations in abundance can be fully understood.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1990-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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