Physiological stress responses in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, to the fishery practice of de-clawing
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- Patterson, L., Dick, J.T.A. & Elwood, R.W. Mar Biol (2007) 152: 265. doi:10.1007/s00227-007-0681-5
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We examined physiological stress responses in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, subjected to the commercial fishery practice of manual de-clawing. We measured haemolymph glucose and lactate, plus muscular glycogen and glycogen mobilisation, in three experiments where the crabs had one claw removed. In the first, crabs showed physiological stress responses when ‘de-clawed’ as compared to ‘handled only’ over the short term of 1–10 min. In the second, de-clawing and the presence of a conspecific both increased the physiological stress responses over the longer term of 24 h. In the third, de-clawing was shown to be more stressful than ‘induced autotomy’ of claws. Further, the former practice caused larger wounds to the body and significantly higher mortality than the latter. Since the fishery practice is to remove both claws, the stress response observed and mortality data reported are conservative.