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Survival and Physical Damage in Swimming Crabs (Brachyura, Portunidae) Discarded from Trawling Fisheries in an Estuarine Ecosystem in Southeastern Brazil

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The effects of mechanical stress caused by trawling, handling, air exposure, and discarding during fishing processes can cause irreversible damage to many bycatch organisms. The objective of this work was to evaluate quali-quantitatively the physical damage (loss of limbs) and differential survival among the portunid swimming crabs Callinectes danae Smith, 1869, Callinectes ornatus Ordway, 1863, and Achelous spinimanus (Latreille, 1819) in the pink shrimp trawling fishery in Guanabara Bay, Brazil. Physical damage was quantified by the incidence of lesions for each species in the following categories: male and female; juvenile and adult; and moulting and non-moulting organisms. The percentage of survivors was obtained through a 24-hour experiment in three consecutive days. The most frequently damaged species was C. danae; 58.9% of this species was observed to be injured. C. ornatus and A. spinimanus presented similar injury frequencies with injuries observed, respectively, in 44.3% and 43.5% of individuals of these species. The Chi-square value for male vs. female; juvenile vs. adult; and moulting vs. non-moulting organisms of each species did not exhibit significant differences except for adults and juveniles of C. danae. The most common type of damage observed among the species was the loss of chelipeds and/or pereiopods. Variance analysis did not detect significant differences in the survival of the various species at the different times of the experiment. The three species presented high survival percentages in all treatments, and live individuals of all species likely show similar recovery rates from trawling stress when returned to the sea.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratório de Biologia e Tecnologia Pesqueira, Depto. de Biologia Marinha, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS-Bl. A, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro, 21949-900, Brazil; 2: Laboratório de Bentos, Depto. de Biologia Marinha, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS-Bl. A, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro, 21949-900, Brazil; 3: Depto. de Biologia Animal, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, BR 465 km 7, Cidade Universitária, Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro, 23890-000, Brazil;, Email:


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