Date of Award

Fall 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

John R. McConaugha

Committee Member

Michael M. Prager

Committee Member

Anthony J. Provenzano

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35G44


The lower Chesapeake Bay spawning stock of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, (Rathbun), is examined for seven years (1986 - 1992) in an attempt to better understand stock behavior. Three methods of post-stratification are used to describe the distribution and movement of the population over time. The three methods, density strata, geographic zones, and depth strata, did well in explaining movements of the population, indicating a trend of increased concentration of blue crabs near the eastern Bay late in the spawning season - October. The data suggest a bimodal period of spawning and a trimodal period of abundance. The spawning peaks are May and late August, with a larger peak of abundance from November to December. A mechanism to increase fecundity and protract the spawning season appears to exist during years of decreased spawning stock size. When these data were compared to commercial landings agreement was very good, creating for future fisheries management possibilities.


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