Some 1,500 juvenile blue king crab earmarked for research have been shipped from the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward to federal and university laboratories in Juneau, Alaska, and Newport, Oregon.
The recipients were the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center Behavioral Ecology Lab in Newport, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau Center.
These crab are being used to evaluate growth rates and to develop tagging techniques.
It’s all part of the Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology program, a research partnership of regional fishermen’s groups, coastal communities, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, Chugach Regional Resources Commission, the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the Alaska Sea Grant program. Their aim is to hatch and rear wild red and blue king crab in a large-scale hatchery setting, to improve the long-term economic development and sustainability of these fisheries.
Since the program began in 2006, thousands of juvenile red and blue king crab have been shipped to laboratories to advance juvenile king crab biological research.
Researchers said a major benefit of developing techniques for large-scale hatchery culture is the ability to supply scientists with research crab. This reduces the need to collect from wild king crab populations and allows for experiments that would not be possible otherwise.