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Studies of Annual Abundance of Postlarval Penaeid Shrimp in the Estuarine Waters of Mississippi, As Related to Subsequent Commercial Catches

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Several workers and several lines of evidence have shown that the shrimp life cycle is very short, probably about 15 to 16 months, for the very small fraction reaching the largest adult size. Additionally, a great deal of commercial fishing is carried out upon sub-adult populations within the bays and shallow Gulf. In fact most shrimp that are caught have never spawned. These shrimp grow up within one warm season and they are derived from larvae which make their way to inside waters from the offshore spawning areas. Thus, it has been surmised for a long time that prediction of at least the relative abundance of the future shrimp could be deduced from studies of the numbers of young or juvenile shrimp in the bays right after they have completed their larval immigration.

The first work on this problem was carried out by Baxter (1962) at the Galveston Laboratory of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries. He sampled one area at the entrance of Bolivar Pass, leading into Galveston Bay, with a beam trawl.

Work at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi Sound was carried out under contract with the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, and was initiated on 1 November 1962. The contract was terminated on 31 October 1964, although the work has been carried out on a reduced scale since that time. The present report covers the period of the contract.

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