Damage and physiological stress to juvenile eastern rock lobster (Sagmariasus verreauxi) discarded after trapping and hand collection
Leland, JC, Butcher, PA, Broadhurst, MK, Paterson, BD & Mayer, DG 2013, ' Damage and physiological stress to juvenile eastern rock lobster (Sagmariasus verreauxi) discarded after trapping and hand collection', Fisheries Research, vol. 137, pp. 63-70.
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Large numbers of Sagmariasus verreauxi are trapped and hand collected in Australia, but discarded due to size and quota restrictions, and under the unevaluated assumption of few impacts. To test the validity of enforced discarding, trapped and hand-collected S. verreauxi (49–143 mm carapace length – CL) were examined for external damage, placed into cages, transferred to aquaria and monitored (with controls) over three months. Haemolymph was non-repetitively sampled immediately and at one, three, and seven days to quantify stress. Most trapped (64%) and hand-collected (79%) specimens were undersized (CL), with the latter method yielding broader ranges of sizes and moult stages. Within-trap Octopus tetricus predation caused the only mortalities (3.3%). Hand collection resulted in much greater antennae and pereopod loss than trapping (53 vs. 4%) but, compared to controls, both methods evoked benign physiological responses that resolved within a week. While most wounded S. verreauxi regenerated all or some missing appendages post-moult, their mean CLs were less than those from intact conspecifics. Simple strategies, including larger mesh sizes, and/or installing modifications to reduce bycatch in traps, careful hand collection, and appropriate release techniques might minimise impacts (including predation) to unwanted S. verreauxi, and help to control stock exploitation.