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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Stoner, A.W., C.S. Rose, J.E. Munk, C.F. Hammond, and M.W. Davis. 2008. An assessment of discard mortality for two Alaskan crab species, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) and snow crab (C. opilio), based on reflex impairment.  Fishery Bulletin 106:337-347.

Abstract

Delayed mortality associated with discarded crabs and fishes has ordinarily been observed through tag and recovery studies or during prolonged holding in deck tanks, and there is need for a more efficient assessment method. Chionoecetes bairdi (Tanner crab) and C. opilio (snow crab) collected with bottom trawls in Bering Sea waters off Alaska were evaluated for reflexes and injuries and held onboard to track mortality. Presence or absence of six reflex actions was determined and combined to calculate a reflex impairment index for each species. Logistic regression revealed that reflex impairment provided an excellent predictor of delayed mortality in C. opilio (91% correct predictions). For C. bairdi, reflex impairment, along with injury score, resulted in 82.7% correct predictions of mortality, and reflex impairment alone resulted in 79.5% correct predictions. The relationships between reflex impairment score and mortality were independent of crab gender, size, and shell condition, and predicted mortality in crabs with no obvious external damage. These relationships provide substantial improvement over earlier predictors of mortality and will help to increase the scope and replication of fishing and handling experiments. The general approach of using reflex actions to predict mortality should be equally valuable for a wide range of crustacean species.

 

Last updated 31 March, 2009


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