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Claw removal and feeding ability in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus : implications for fishery practice

By L. Patterson, J. T. A. Dick, R. W. Elwood

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Feeding ability and motivation were assessed in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, to investigate how the fishery practice of de-clawing may affect live crabs returned to the sea. Crabs were either induced to autotomise one claw, or were only handled, before they were offered food. Initially, autotomised and handled crabs were offered mussels, Mytilis edulis, a large part of their natural diet. After 3 days, both autotomised and handled crabs were then offered fish, a more readily handled food source. Autotomy induced crabs consumed significantly fewer mussels and less mussel mass, but ate significantly more mass of fish. This indicates that the effect of autotomy was a reduction of ability to feed on mussels rather than a general reduction of feeding motivation. The discontinuation of claw removal needs to be considered, both for the sustainability of the fishery and animal welfare concerns.

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 116
Issue 2/4
Pages 302-305
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.08.007
Language English
Author Address School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Aquacultural and fisheries
  7. Aquatic organisms
  8. Arthropods
  9. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  10. Cancer
  11. Claw
  12. Crustaceans
  13. Effect
  14. Feeding
  15. Invertebrates
  16. Mollusks
  17. mussels
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. Plants
  20. practices
  21. shellfish
  22. sustainability
  1. peer-reviewed