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Blue crab callinectes sapidus populations in mid chesapeake bay usa in the vicinity of the calvert cliffs nuclear power plant 1968 1981



Blue crab callinectes sapidus populations in mid chesapeake bay usa in the vicinity of the calvert cliffs nuclear power plant 1968 1981



Journal of Shellfish Research 3(2): 183-194



Population data of the blue crab C. sapidus Rathbun were collected from 1968-1981 to determine the affects of waste heat from the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant on abundance, size distribution, sex ratio, seasonality of occurrence. Crabs were sampled using commercial crab pots of 25-mm-mesh set within (Plant Site) and outside (Kenwood Beach and Rocky Point) the main area of thermal influence. Five pots per station were fished 4 days per week during alternate weeks from May to Nov. or Dec. Crabs were sexed, measured and weighed by sex. In 14 yr, a total of 10,600 pot samples yielded 57,078 crabs (5.38 per pot) of which 74.1% were legal size (.gtoreq. 127 mm carapace width) and 51.5% were males. During 7 pre-operational years (1968-1974), the number of crabs per pot averaged 4.15 at Kenwood Beach (32.6%), 4.12 at Plant Site (32.4%), and 4.46 at Rocky Point (35.0%). During seven operational years (1975-1981), the number of crabs per pot averaged 6.24 at Kenwood Beach (33.3%), 6.37 at Plant Site (34.0%) and 6.15 at Rocky Point (32.8%). Increased catch during the operational period was due to extreme abundance in 1981 when the mean catch was nearly 17 crabs per pot. Ten population variables were tested for differences between pre-operational and operational periods and among stations and years. Data analyses revealed many differences among years due to natural fluctuations in the size and structure of Chesapeake Bay blue crab populations. Two station differences were detected; males at Kenwood Beach were slightly larger than at the other stations (P < 0.01), and percent males at Kenwood Beach was higher than at Rocky Point (P < 0.01). The overall similarity of stations and periods indicates no evidence of any detrimental effect on the crab populations caused by operation of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant.

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Accession: 004850842

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