Participation by the Kodiak Island village of Old Harbor has proven crucial to the Alaska King Crab Research (AKCRRAB), Rehabilitation and Biology Program.
Spokesmen for the research and rehabilitation program said this week that with help from the Old Harbor Tribal Council, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery received funding through an Administration for Native Americans grant to support research that developed hatchery techniques for rearing red king crab juveniles. Experiments conducted in large-scale hatchery tanks led to production of more than 100,000 red king crab juveniles in 2009 and 2010, demonstrating that large-scale hatchery production of red king crab is feasible in Alaska. This technology could be used in the future to help restore depleted king crab stocks around the village of Old Harbor and in other areas of the state.
Old Harbor residents have also provided hands-on support for the project over the years, AKCRRAB officials said.
In 2009 and 2010, Old Harbor residents worked at the hatchery, assisting with and learning about red king crab rearing techniques. This month Old Harbor community members orchestrated the collection of red king crab broodstock from this region for spring 2013 hatchery experiments. Support from Old Harbor and other coastal communities continues to be crucial as the AKCRRAB program develops technology and conducts research aimed at restoring depleted red king crab stocks to Alaska’s subsistence, commercial and personal use fish harvesters.
The program is a partnership of regional fishermen’s groups, coastal communities, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery and Chugach Regional Resources Commission, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the Alaska Sea Grant Program. More information about the program is at www.seagrant.uaf.edu