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Blue king crab broodstock arrive from St. Matthew Island

female blue king crabOvigerous (with eggs) female blue king crab. Courtesy of Ben Daly.

Ovigerous female blue king crabs have arrived at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward. The commercial fishing vessel Seabrooke, owned by Scott Campbell Sr. and skippered by Scott Campbell Jr., collected the 19 crabs as an in-kind contribution to AKCRRAB. The crabs were caught near St. Matthew Island during the 2011 commercial fishery and delivered to Dutch Harbor, and then shipped to Seward. The small geographic range of blue king crab, hazardous weather, and limited shipping opportunities have made acquiring blue king crab broodstock difficult in previous years, which makes their successful delivery this year especially important. Blue king crab larvae have been more challenging to rear at the hatchery compared to the success of red king crab production, but AKCRRAB biologists are optimistic that conditions customized to blue king crabs will yield improved survival and growth rates in 2012. Blue king crab larvae are expected to hatch in winter/spring 2012 and will be used in large-scale experiments focused on improving culture techniques for larvae, glaucothoe, and juveniles. AKCRRAB biologists are excited to work with the St. Matthew blue king crabs and are looking forward to the 2012 production run.

To hear an interview with Ben Daly about last month's News Flash story, go to http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/projects/initiatives/king_crab/news/.

News Flash is edited by Ben Daly. AKCRRAB is a research and rehabilitation project sponsored by the Alaska Sea Grant College Program, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, community groups, and industry members. For more information go to http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/projects/initiatives/king_crab/general.

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