Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Program (MAP)

Publication Date



Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2009- 12


The channeled whelk, Busycotypus canaliculatus, was sampled from three in‐shore commercially harvested resource areas in the US Mid‐Atlantic: off Ocean City, Maryland (OC); Eastern Shore of Virginia (ES); and Virginia Beach, Virginia (VB). The largest whelk measured 230mm shell length (SL) and was recorded from OC. Mean SL was largest in OC site (158.1mm), followed by ES (137.6mm), then VB (132.4mm). Both VB and ES populations showed a unimodal length‐frequency distribution with the single peak at shell length less than MLS for those regions, while OC population showed a bimodal (two peaks) distribution with the smaller peak at shell length less than the MLS for that region and larger peak at shell length greater than the MLS. Growth rate coefficient (k) was higher in males than females from all areas, and highest for both sexes in VB (Male 0.245, Female 0.155), followed by ES (Male 0.220, Female 0.151), then OC (Male 0.112, Female 0.100). The median size (SL) at 50% mature varied between resource area and sex. Males from ES and VB reached maturity at a smaller size (123mm and 121mm, respectively) than OC (134mm). Females from VB reached maturity at a smaller size (148.9mm) than ES (157.6mm) and OC (158.6mm). Fisheries recruitment was estimated to occur at corresponding age ~6 years for VB and ~ 7‐8 years for ES and OC using estimates from the von Bertalanffy growth model. Under current MLS for each area, whelk harvested from VB recruited into the fishery at a much younger age to those from OC. The probability of females reaching MLS prior to sexual maturity is quite low given current MLS.


Channeled whelk, Busycotypus canaliculatus



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