Estimates of Spawning Stock Size of Blue Crab, Callinectes Sapidus, in Chesapeake Bay, 1986–1987
We present the first estimates of female spawning stock size for the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, in Chesapeake Bay. Using trawl surveys based upon simple and stratified random sampling, we made abundance and density estimates for 1986 and 1987. The 1986 spawning stock exhibited a single abundance peak, increasing from 1.0⋅105 individuals in early July to 9.3⋅106 in late July, maintaining high levels throughout the summer, and declining in the fall to 7.4⋅105 individuals. The 1987 spawning stock showed two peaks of abundance. The population reached the lesser peak, 1.0⋅106 individuals, in late July; the greater peak, 1.5⋅106, in late August. By late September, the population had declined to 6.5⋅105 individuals. The peak abundance of the 1987 female spawning stock was only 16% as great as the peak abundance in 1986; the 1987 spawning stock size (measured in crab-days spent on the spawning grounds) was only 29% of the stock size in 1986. Variability of this magnitude calls for continued monitoring and watchful management, to prevent fishing pressure from exceeding the reproductive capacity of the stock.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 January 1990
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