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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fish Bulletin 172. Life History, Environment, and Mariculture Studies of the Dungeness Crab, Cancer Magister, With Emphasis on The Central California Fishery Resource


This report describes the results of the California Department of Fish and Game's Dungeness Crab Research Program (1974–1980) plus several related studies and provides a detailed history of the California fishery. The Dungeness Crab Research Program was developed in response to a severe and sustained decline in central California Dungeness crab landings; this decline is the primary focus of the investigations presented in this report. Research results are presented for life history, environmental, and mariculture studies relating to egg, larval, juvenile, and adult stages of the Dungeness crab. Specific areas of study include stock identification; larval and juvenile dynamics focusing on movement, distribution, relative abundance, age and growth, and predation; impacts of commercial trawl fishing; ocean climate and its effects on life cycle stages and fishery landings; reproduction; pollution such as chlorinated wastewater, toxic trace elements, pesticides and PCB's, and hydrocarbons; and laboratory culture techniques. This report concludes with a summary of the Dungeness crab life cycle and research results and a discussion of management options and further research needs.

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