In general, pearl cultivation has advanced with organisms produced and improved in hatchery; however, wild spat collection is still the primary source for commercial cultivation. In Mexico, progress toward pearl oyster hatchery spat production is yet in the experimental stage. The only three farms established in the country (Guaymas, La Paz, and Cozumel Island) rely on extensive culture. Constant spat supply is imperative to ensure a successful operation; at La Paz Bay, however, larval uptake of the pearl oyster Pinctada mazatlanica in artificial collectors has always been low. This study aimed to assess spatio-temporal and bathymetric patterns of spat distribution across the area to locate suitable sites to install spat collecting stations. Our results showed significant differences (P < 0.05) between stations. Mogote, Caimancito, Punta Colorada, and Gaviota Island were the stations with the highest spat abundance at 1-m depth in July–September after 40 and 60 days of immersion. The data were also analyzed with generalized linear models. The best models, selected with the Akaike and Bayesian criteria, suggest that 1-m depth, 40- and 60-day immersion time, and site (particularly, Caimancito Beach, Punta Colorada, and Gaviota Island) contributed significantly to explaining the highest catches (mean: 5–8 organisms/collector) of P. mazatlanica spat in La Paz Bay. Therefore, the area within these sites should be considered suitable for installing the network of artificial collectors during the season of high spat abundance.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1