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Blue Crab Simulation Model for Aransas and Copano Bays, TX, USA

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Healthy estuaries are vital to the economy of the Texas central coast, supporting the region ’s multibillion-dollar fishing industry and growing tourist trade. Adequate supplies of freshwater are key to the productivity of these estuaries. However, as the regional population grew and the recent drought deepened, estuaries were receiving less freshwater. In response to this challenge, the Mission-Aransas Reserve worked with a multidisciplinary team in a 2011 Collaborative Research project to develop science-based, stakeholder-informed recommendations to support freshwater inflows to maintain healthy estuaries in this region, while balancing other competing needs for freshwater.

This document describes a model developed by the project team to simulate population dynamics of blue crabs in Aransas and Copano bays in response to selected environmental and management variables.