Their scientific name - Callinectes sapidus - means "beautiful swimmer." But just where, when and how far do blue crabs - specifically, the Gulf of Mexico's adult female blue crabs - beautifully swim?

A just-started, Gulf Coast-wide research project involving affixing tags on as many as 30,000 adult female blue crabs aims to try answering those questions. Insights garnered through reporting of the recovery of those marked crustaceans should help fisheries scientists better understand the population dynamics of this key coastal marine species and translate that knowledge into sound, science-based management decisions.

Those management decisions will be crucial to maintaining a healthy population of blue crabs, the Gulf Coast's most abundant large crab - a vital prey/predator component of the marine ecosystem and an economically and socially important piece of the recreational and commercial fishery.

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