Association between longline design and mussel ...
|Title||Association between longline design and mussel productivity in Prince Edward Island, Canada|
|Author(s)||A. Drapeau, L. A. Comeau, T. Landry, Henrik E. Stryhn, J. Davidson|
|Abstract||The first objective of this study was to document the design of subsurface longlines used for the farming of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada; the second objective was to identify possible associations between longline design and mussel growth. In 2003, SCUBA divers visited 54 farms distributed in 16 culture embayments; they measured the spacing between longlines and the spacing between individual socks (sleeves) attached to longlines; they also sampled one-year-old mussels for the determination of the shell length, condition index, and sock weight. Here we report a remarkable degree of variation in longline configuration, with the following range of values: 1.2 to 3.0 m for sock length, 1.5 to 29.5 m for longline spacing, 26.4 to 62.4 cm for sock spacing, and 6.2 to 179.9 socks/100 m2 for stocking density at the farm scale. A negative correlation was found between stocking density at the farm scale and total farming area at the bay scale, suggesting that growers adjusted husbandry in relation to the surrounding level of farming activity. In one major culture bay, Tracadie Bay, measurements were repeated over a three-year period (2002-2004). This monitoring led to the discovery of a coordinated effort by growers in raising the average sock spacing by 30% (+11 cm). Multiple regression analyses identified sock spacing as the only explanatory variable correlated with mussel weight in Tracadie Bay. The model suggests that an 11-cm increase in sock spacing can lead to an 18% weight gain for pre-market mussels (~34 mm), the size group investigated in the study. However, this correlation between sock spacing and sock weight was tenuous over the three-year study period, showing up only in 2002. A similar correlation was found between sock spacing and condition index, although only in 2004. We conclude by suggesting that close spacing of mussel socks can negatively affect mussel yield, although only under certain conditions..|
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