Commercial crab populations off the Kamchatka coasts are infested to a considerable degree by the rhizocephalan parasite Briarosaccus callosus: of 769 Lithodes aequispina males examined, 43 (5.7%) were parasitized. Infestations result in the feminization of the crabs, a significant decrease in the cheliped length, and a significant decrease in the carapace length and width. We suggest that commercial selection of healthy males, and the returning of unsuitable crabs, including infested ones, back into the sea, results in an increase of the proportion of infested crabs in the population, their elimination from reproduction, and, eventually, the gradual degradation of a whole population. To minimize as far as possible the negative effects of commercial crab harvesting, all infested crab specimens caught must be destroyed, either aboard or elsewhere, instead of throwing them back into the sea.
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