POTENTIAL FOR SPERM LIMITATION IN BLUE CRABS OF CHESAPEAKE BAY
Wilberg, Michael J
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Sperm limitation is a concern for blue crabs Callinectes sapidus in Chesapeake Bay due to their reproductive biology and sex specific fishing pressures from regulations. Our objectives were to 1) characterize differences in sperm quantity per female among six tributaries in Chesapeake Bay and evaluate if it is related to the tributaries mature male:female sex ratio and 2) develop an individual based model to simulate the effect of harvest on the reproductive sustainability of the blue crab fishery. We found that sperm quantity per female varied among tributaries, as did sex ratio, but were not related to each other. Additionally, all simulated fishing scenarios showed no significant differences in sperm per female except for when all mature males were fished at five times current fishing pressure and females were unfished. Our results suggest that sperm limitation is not a concern for blue crabs of Chesapeake Bay under current regulations.