National Fisherman

Did you know that red king crabs are cannibals and eat their babies but blue king crabs do not? Or that deep-water golden king crabs along the Aleutian Islands are almost indestructible and appear to resist the effects of ocean acidification?

Those are just a few of the secrets being revealed at the nation's top king crab research lab in Kodiak. Scientists at the Near Island center handle the yearly Bering Sea king crab surveys and use samples to study their biology and breeding. They hope to find clues about why king crab stocks are not returning to Kodiak and why recruitment is so low and slow at Bristol Bay.

Right now the researchers are studying crab diets.

"Not much has been done on that because crabs eat everything. They shred it. So we are trying to identify it with genetic signatures. To find out what they are eating helps us understand what's out there," said Bob Foy, director of the NOAA/Kodiak lab. "It helps us understand if the environment is producing enough food to the bottom of the ocean. What they've found in the Bering Sea is that there are cycles. If we understand the production of the ocean ecosystem, it can help predict how well the crab stocks might do."

The researchers recently learned that while female king crab lay hundreds of thousands of eggs, their viability can vary extremely over time. Foy said that discovery has changed the way crab stocks are surveyed.

Read the full story at Anchorage Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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