36 months on: Progress update from UK Brown Crab case study

Read on for a round-up of the progress of GAP2’s UK case study investigating the sustainability of brown crab stocks.

The crab fishery off south Devon, between Dartmouth and Bigbury Bay, has a well-established gear regulation system that keeps crab pots and mobile gear apart. The system is managed by the South Devon and Channel Shellfisherman’s Association and members of this are partners in the present analysis of the fishery. The scientists try to meet at least once a month with the Association to keep abreast of activities and to report on the GAP2 work.

We scheduled a special meeting with the fishers in January 2014 to outline plans for an individual based model of the crab fishery. The fishers were asked to contribute ideas and variables that might be relevant to the model and these will be incorporated as development takes place. We will be meeting with the fishers again around midsummer to report on progress and get further inputs.

We are currently writing a paper reporting the data gathered in the crab fishery in the first year of work. We worked with eight boats distributed across the crab fishery area to gather detailed data on catches and discards. These data will be used to test the validity of the model once developed. We expect the model to predict the spatial and temporal distribution of crab catches off the south Devon coast.

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