Mortality and Catchability Estimates for the Stone Crab (Menippe Mercenaria) in Everglades National Park
Estimates of natural mortality have not been reported for the stone crab Menippe mercenaria, yet this information is essential for describing the population dynamics of the species and to manage the stocks. In this study, mortality of adult males inhabiting an area off Cape Sable in the Everglades National Park, Horida, was estimated by sequential tagging experiments and by analysis of fishery statistics for the period October 1984 to May 1985. Natural mortality rates range from 0.780 to 6.867 per annum. Differences in the mortality estimates are attributed to dominance of specific size groups included in the tagging experiments, with mortality rates varying linearly with size of tagged individuals. The higher natural mortality rates corresponded to individuals with carapace widths at or above the average size at terminal molt. The mortality estimates were obtained from information gathered under exceptional circumstances and complexities of estimating these rates due to difficulties of aging crustaceans are recognized. This problem is further complicated in the stone crab fishery because only claws are harvested and landed, therefore, the true age composition of the stocks may never be known from standard commercial statistics.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1990-03-01
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