Characterization and fishery development potential of Galveston Bay, Texas, Stone Crab (Menippe Adina) stocks
Landry, Andre M., Jr.
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Seasonal abundance, spatial and temporal distribution, and size composition of stone crab (Menippe adina) stocks in lower Galveston Bay, Texas, were characterized by trapping from January through December 1985. Stone crab catch per unit effort was highest throughout late summer and fall; catch rates were greatest in deep-water (>8.1 m) channels with beds of packed sand. Male:female sex ration was 1.0:2.5; females exhibited a slightly larger mean carapace width (91 mm, versus 87 mm for males). Males possessed proportionally larger claws and began producing claws of harvestable size (>70 mm propodus length) at a smaller average carapace width (90 mm) than did females (95 mm). The right propodus was the crusher claw on 73% of the crabs sampled. Nearly 84% of the crabs sampled possessed both claws, and 53% of all crabs yielded at least one harvestable claw. The 22,350 kg of stone crab claws caught by commercial crabbers in Galveston Bay during 1985-86 represented 36% of the entire Texas stone crab harvest. The potential for developing a directed stone crab fishery in Texas seems poor because of a lack of information on indigenous stocks, absence of in-state markets, and insufficient support from industry and government.