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The effects of holding space on juvenile red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus (Tilesius, 1815), growth and survival

Authors

  • Katherine M. Swiney,

    Corresponding author
    • Kodiak Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Kodiak, AK, USA
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  • W. Christopher Long,

    1. Kodiak Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Kodiak, AK, USA
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  • Sara L. Persselin

    1. Kodiak Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Kodiak, AK, USA
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Correspondence: K M Swiney, Kodiak Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 301 Research Court, Kodiak, AK 99615 USA. E-mail: katherine.swiney@noaa.gov

Abstract

Rearing crustaceans communally for aquaculture, stock enhancement or research often results in high rates of cannibalism and low yields. One potential strategy to reduce loss from cannibalism is to rear crustaceans in individual cells. As small holding cell size can result in decreased growth or increased mortality, it is essential to identify the optimal holding cell size, both for mass culturing efforts and for experimental design purposes. In this study, we reared juvenile red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus (3.67–8.30 mm carapace length) in 20, 40 and 77 mm diameter holding cells, and monitored growth and survival over a 274-day experiment. A trend of lower growth per molt in the smallest holding cells resulted in crab 17% smaller than those in the large holding cells at the end of the experiment. In addition, mortality rates were an order of magnitude higher in the small holding cells compared with the large or medium cells. For individual rearing of this size of juvenile red king crab, the medium-sized cells (40 mm diameter) are the optimal size as there was no increase in mortality and only marginally lower growth rates compared to the large-sized cells.

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