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Shellfish

  • George R. Abbe
Part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies book series (COASTAL, volume 23)

Abstract

The three species of commercially valuable shellfish found in central Chesapeake Bay near Calvert Cliffs are the soft-shell clam Mya arenaria, the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, and the American oyster Crassostrea virginica. Clam populations were sampled along 19 km of shoreline by hydraulic escalator dredge during 7 years from 1971 to 1979. Population size, percent legal size, and distribution fluctuated widely over time. Large numbers of small clams were observed, but few survived. Population density increased with depth to about 4.6 m, but was never enough to support commercial activity.

Blue crabs were sampled by pots from 1968 to 1983 at three stations. In 16 years, 66,275 crabs were caught; 50% were male and 76% were legal. Crabs per pot fished ranged from 0.85 in 1968 to 16.86 in 1981 and were significantly correlated with Maryland commercial landings. Differences among years were detected for all 10 catch variables examined, but few differences occurred among stations or between preoperational and operational periods. A significant long-term decrease in percent males, however, could have serious implications to the crab fishery.

Trays of oysters located at various stations from 1970 to 1981 contained four age classes which were examined quarterly for growth, mortality, and meat condition. Growth was greater near the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant than elsewhere, but only after 3 years. Although mortalities were not consistent among years, they were similar among stations. The Flag Pond Oyster Bar was surveyed by divers in 1979 and 1983 to determine changes in population structure. Density of legal oysters doubled and sublegals increased 33 times as a result of increased larval recruitment during the early 1980s. Population size was greater than at any time in the last two decades.

Keywords

Blue Crab Cove Point National Marine Fishery Service Percent Male Meat Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • George R. Abbe

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