Date of Award

5-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Biology

Advisor

Richard Wahle

Second Committee Member

Yong Chen

Third Committee Member

Larry Jacobson

Abstract

The deep sea red crab fishery is a small sustainable fishery located in the continental slope waters of the northwestern Atlantic. This study investigates how fishing efforts affect reproductive activities by removing large reproductively competent males. The research design called for the characterization of all individuals from a random subset of traps during the summer of 2010, including its shell characteristics, sex, size, evidence of mating, and presence and color of eggs. This information was used to infer the impact of fishing pressure on reproductive effort. Three hypotheses were tested using Pearson Chi- squared contingency tables. The creation of a logistic regression model also was used to predict the probability of females having eggs by using fishing area, female size, scarring (an indicator of mating), and fishing effort. Results showed that significant differences existed between areas of lower and higher fishing efforts. These included significant differences in the number of large males, sex ratios, female size, and females with eggs. This study suggests that selective harvesting of large males may adversely affect reproduction and the long term sustainability of the fishery.

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