Researchers Try to Duplicate Production Success Using Alternate Red King Crab Stock
Female red king crab caught in the Juneau area. Courtesy of Jim Swingle.
Large-scale red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) larval culture conducted at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery from 2007 to 2010 has been increasingly successful. In 2009 and 2010 researchers achieved over 50% survival to the glaucothoe stage and 20% to the first juvenile stage, producing over 100,000 first stage juveniles in each year. This large-scale production success is based on hatchery rearing of Bristol Bay red king crabs. It is unclear if alternate stocks will have similar success.
Experiments in 2011 will compare larval rearing success between broodstock collected in Bristol Bay and Juneau using identical conditions to determine if broodstock origin influences success of hatchery production. Preliminary genetic results suggest genetic differences between these two stocks. Twenty egg-bearing female red king crabs were collected in the Juneau area during Alaska Department of Fish and Game crab surveys, and an additional twenty females were collected from Bristol Bay by commercial fishing vessel FV Stormbird, owned by Lu Dochtermann and skippered by Gene LeDoux. These crabs are currently in Seward and are expected to hatch their larvae in spring. Based on previous observations, researchers expect Bristol Bay crabs to release their larvae in March, with release by Juneau crabs then or possibly earlier. Researchers are optimistic that similar success seen with Bristol Bay crabs will be achieved using Juneau stocks. AKCRRAB thanks Lu Dochtermann and ADFG for collecting crabs in fall 2010.
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.