Comparison of oyster dredge tow times to monitor oyster abundance
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Number of Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) collected in 30-second oyster dredge tows was compared with number of eastern oysters collected in 1- minute tows in Galveston, Matagorda, East Matagorda, San Antonio, Aransas, and Corpus Christi Bays, and the lower Laguna Madre during March 1987. Overall, number of spat (5-25 mm shell length) and small oysters (26-75 mm) caught were comparable between times although significant deviations were found in individual bays. Market oysters (>=76 mm) were more abundant than expected in the 30-second tows suggesting that the dredge may be filling up before completion of the 1-minute tows. Therefore, 1-minute tows probably underestimate Eastern oyster relative abundance, especially when abundance is extremely great.