Mortality and blood loss by blue swimmer crabs (Portunus pelagicus) after simulated capture and discarding from gillnets

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Two laboratory experiments were carried out to quantify the mortality and physiological responses of juvenile blue swimmer crabs (Portunus pelagicus) after simulated gillnet entanglement, air exposure, disentanglement, and discarding. In both experiments, all but control blue swimmer crabs were entangled in 1-m2 gillnet panels for 1 h, exposed to air for 2 min, subjected to various treatments of disentanglement ranging between the forceful removal of none, one, two, and four appendages, then "discarded" into individual experimental tanks and monitored for 10 d. In Experiment 1, mortalities were associated with the number of appendages removed and the occurrence of unsealed wounds. In Experiment 2, live blue swimmer crabs were sampled for blood at 2 min and 6, 24, and 72 h post-discarding to test for the effects of disentanglement and appendage removal on total haemocyte counts, clotting times, protein levels (by refractive index), and blood ion concentrations. Compared with blue swimmer crabs that had sealed or no wounds, those with unsealed wounds had lower total haemocyte counts, protein, and calcium concentrations and increased clotting times and magnesium and sodium levels. Induced autotomy, as opposed to the arbitrary, forceful removal of appendages has the potential to minimize the mortality and stress of discarded, juvenile blue swimmer crabs. © 2009 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Oxford Journals. All rights reserved.




Uhlmann, S. S., Broadhurst, M. K., Paterson, B. D., Mayer, D. G., Butcher, P., & Brand, C. P. (2009). Mortality and blood loss by blue swimmer crabs (Portunus pelagicus) after simulated capture and discarding from gillnets. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66(3), 455–461.

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