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Adv Mar Biol. 2013;65:95-148. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-410498-3.00003-3.

The biology, ecology and fishery of the Dungeness crab, Cancer magister.

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University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Charleston, OR, USA.


The Dungeness crab, Cancer magister, is a commercially important crustacean that ranges from the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, to Santa Barbara, California. Mating occurs between recently moulted females and post-moult males. After approximately 90 days, females release planktonic larvae into the water column. Stage-I zoea are found in the nearshore environment and subsequent zoeal stages are found at greater distances. After approximately 80 days, zoea moult into megalopa, which move first from the open ocean onto the continental shelf and then across the shelf to settle in the nearshore environment or estuaries. Crabs reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age. The fishery for C. magister is managed using a 3-S management strategy which regulates catch based on size, sex and season. As more fisheries seek sustainability certifications, the Dungeness crab fishery presents an excellent test case of how to sustainably manage a crustacean fishery.

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