There Will Be No Alaskan Crab Harvest This Year
Due to dwindling populations of snow and king crabs, the state has canceled this year’s big catch.
In reaction to extremely low Alaskan snow and king crab populations, the state has decided to cancel the fall and winter harvest of the crustaceans for the first time in history.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), which officially announced the cancellation earlier this month, the decision came after an analysis of the snow crab stock revealed that only 23 percent of the crab population remains.
The abundance of snow crabs has taken a sharp decline since 2018, when they occupied the Bering Sea off of Alaska in numbers close to eight billion. In 2021, only about one billion of the creatures remained.
At the first signs of the crab decline years ago, researchers originally thought crab migration may be behind the population decrease. Now they’re not so sure. The reasoning behind the intense decline in crab numbers is still being researched, but the findings prove the issue is crab mortality, not mobility. Biologists are pointing to stress from warmer waters and an increase in predators as the cause.