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Distribution and abundance of the adult stone crab Menippe adina, in Mississippi coastal and offshore waters and the potential for development of a fishery : final report to the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium for calendar year 1988
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    A study was conducted to determine the distribution and relative abundance of the stone crab, Menippe adina, in lower Mississippi Sound and associated offshore waters, and to assess the potential for development of a fishery. The study consisted of two phases. ln phase one, stone crab traps were deployed at three stations located near barrier island passes and nine offshore station. Traps were recovered from only seven of the original 12 stations sampled. Adult stone crabs were collected at each of these stations. Highest catches were recorded from the stations located near Horn Island and Dog Key Passes.The catch of adult stone crabs from stations located more than two kilometers south of the barrier Island passes were low. !n phase two of the study, traps were fished for 24-hour periods at three stations located near barrier Island passes and five offshore stations. Adult stone crabs were not collected from offshore Stations where the water depth was greater than 12.0 meters. As in phase one, the most productive areas were near the barrier Island passes; however, the catch per unit effort obtained from these areas was substantially higher during phase two. This difference was attributed primarily to the shorter soak period used during phase two. Estimates of weight of commercial size claws obtained per trap night from stations located near the barrier island passes ranged from 56.7 to 3ll.6 grams. Recommendations for development of a limited stone crab fishery in Mississippi are presented.
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