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AKCRRAB makes largest shipment of juvenile red king crabs to date


The Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, a partner in AKCRRAB, shipped about 5,000 juvenile red king crabs to the NOAA laboratory in Kodiak in June 2010, for predation and ocean acidification research. This marks the largest single shipment of hatchery-cultured king crabs to date for AKCRRAB. With another 5,000 red and 5,000 blue king crabs slated to be shipped to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau Center in August for growth and tagging studies, the AKCRRAB program is steadily increasing its ability to supply juvenile king crabs for research purposes.

In the past three years, AKCRRAB shipped multiple batches of juvenile red and blue king crabs totaling many thousands of crabs to laboratories in Kodiak, Juneau, and Newport, Oregon, for use in various research projects. A major benefit in developing techniques for large-scale hatchery culture of juvenile king crabs is the ability to supply scientists with research animals. As a result of successful hatchery production of juvenile king crabs, much is being learned about their early life history including behavior, habitat requirements, and growth physiology.

The primary goal of AKCRRAB is to evaluate the feasibility of rehabilitating depressed king crab populations throughout Alaska via large-scale releases of hatchery-cultured crabs. Research is needed to develop successful release strategies and understand potential environmental impacts of releasing large numbers of hatchery-cultured crabs into the wild. Though a large-scale release is likely years away, the project is an outstanding opportunity to learn about larval and juvenile king crab biology.

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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