Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Industry Pitches In for Crab Research Project

An Alaska crab research project in Kodiak and Seward has received new red and blue king crab collected in November and December through efforts of the crab industry and fishermen.

Officials with the Alaska King Crab Research Rehabilitation and Biology Program said Mitch Simeonoff of Ahkiok and Rick Metzger of Deadman’s Bay collected 30 red king crab in Alitak Bay in early November.

Ten broodstock crabs are housed at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Kodiak, while 20 were shipped to Seward.

Red king crab larvae that hatch from these females will be raised at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in the spring of 2015 to support continued research on the feasibility of stock rehabilitation in Kodiak.

Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers was credited for the collection of blue king crab, researchers said. Egg-bearing blue king crab were collected in December and delivered to St. Paul by the F/V Bristol Mariner, skippered by Tom Suryan and owned by Kevin Kaldestad. Trident Seafoods housed the crab and packed and shipped them to Seward. Females will be cared for at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, where the research biologists will investigate the role of incubation temperature on hatch timing. Broodstock collection is expensive and time consuming and the research program could not continue without the support of the crab industry and fishermen, researchers said. Success in collecting red and blue king crab this year illustrates the dedication of scientists as well as the interest of industry and local fishermen in supporting this work, researchers said.

Supporters and sponsors of the research program include the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Aleut Community of St. Paul Tribal Government, Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation, Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, Chugach Regional Resources Commission, Gulf of Alaska Coastal Communities Coalition, the Groundfish Forum, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, the city of Kodiak, Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., NOAA Fisheries, Santa Monica Seafoods, the city of Seward, United Fishermen’s Marketing Association, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Southeast, and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program.

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