Seminar: Dr. Anson “Tuck” Hines (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)

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Seminar: Dr. Anson “Tuck” Hines (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)

October 12, 2022 at 3:00pm

Title: The life and times of blue crabs: A saga of what 40 years of field experiments taught us about a complex life cycles and intense fisheries

Speaker: Dr. Anson “Tuck” Hines (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)

Host: Dr. Allison Tracy

Abstract: Blue crabs are an icon of Chesapeake Bay and a lucrative U.S. crustacean fishery. Over the past 40 years, SERC research employed a combination of innovative experiments to gain a much-improved understanding of blue crab ecology in the bay, their role as major predators in bay’s food web, and how they use they bay’s linked ecosystems over their complex migratory life cycle. Over that same period, the fishery stock levels declined precipitously and remain at low levels. A partnership of SERC and IMET used hatchery/stock enhancement techniques to show that the population was recruitment limited. The result led to certain changes in fishery management that produced short episodes of stock recovery, but the populations repeatedly returned to low levels as fishing strategies adjusted intense levels. Meanwhile, other fisheries of closely related swimming crab fisheries in China, Japan and Southeast Asia in are intensifying and driving crab populations to unsustainable levels. The high value of exported crab meat is now generating a wide range of hatchery/stock enhancement approaches. This complex saga points to opportunities and challenges of nearshore fishery management in the coming decade.

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