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Spatio-temporal variation in biomass of the deep-sea red crab Chaceon affinis in Gran Canaria Island (Canary Islands, Eastern-Central Atlantic)
Triay-Portella, R.; Pajuelo, J.G.; González, J.A. (2017). Spatio-temporal variation in biomass of the deep-sea red crab Chaceon affinis in Gran Canaria Island (Canary Islands, Eastern-Central Atlantic). Mar. Ecol. (Berl.) 38(5): e12462. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/maec.12462
In: Marine Ecology (Berlin). Blackwell: Berlin. ISSN 0173-9565; e-ISSN 1439-0485, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    biomass; Chaceon affinis; deep-sea red crab; spatio-temporal variation

Authors  Top 
  • Triay-Portella, R.
  • Pajuelo, J.G.
  • González, J.A.

Abstract
    The spatial and temporal biomass distribution of Chaceon affinis and its vulnerability to fishing activity in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) were investigated. The first goal was to assess the influence of the slope steepness and substrate on the size of crab patches, size of the crabs, and crab biomass. The second goal was to evaluate spatial and temporal variation in the biomass over a 15-month period. The last goal was to assess the influence of fishing activity upon the reduction in the biomass over the same 15-month period. Only two or three locations in the sampling area generated high-biomass contour patches. When these patches were superimposed on the isobath lines, they were coincident with the main depth range described for the species in the area. The map of the biomass values clearly showed three structures with cores of the highest biomass in both muddy and rocky-muddy areas. The biomass was higher on muddy than on rocky-muddy bottoms. Biomass was twice as high when steepness was reduced to one third between isobaths of 500 and 900 m. The size of crab patches increases linearly with the decrease in slope steepness. The spatial structure of crabs remained fairly stable over time, showing that biomass changes with depth over time. Maps of the estimated biomass values over the 15-month period showed the same two main patches over time with the cores of highest biomass separated by a distance of between 4.2 and 4.5 km. Although the bathymetric distribution by sexes showed temporal changes, with a displacement to deeper areas made by both sexes over the studied period, only a partial temporal segregation between males and females was observed. During the study period, crabs underwent a significant decline in biomass and this was consistent with the combined catches of both commercial and experimental fishing in the area. Due to its low mobility, C. affinis is highly vulnerable to local depletion by intensive fishing efforts.

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