MilestonesAlaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology Program (AKCRRAB)
For milestones after 2009, please see the News Flash newsletter.
Commercial fishing vessel FV Stormbird, owned by Lu Dochtermann and skippered by Gene LeDoux, collected 28 ovigerous female red king crab to support AKCRRAB research as an in-kind contribution to the project. The crabs were collected in Bristol Bay during the commercial fishery, which opened on October 15th. The crabs are currently being monitored at the Kodiak Fishery Research Center Seawater Facility. Twenty of the crabs will be shipped to the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward for production experiments. Larvae are predicted to hatch sometime in March 2010 and will be used in large-scale experiments investigating culturing requirements of larvae, glaucothoe, and juveniles.
In 2009, hatchery biologists produced 100,000 juvenile red king crabs and are optimistic that survival in 2010 can be improved to increase production. Red king crab juveniles cultured at Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in 2009 were sent to biologists in Kodiak, Alaska, Juneau, Alaska, and Newport, Oregon, for experiments investigating early life history of red king crab. Hatchery biologists will continue to improve rearing technology for producing large numbers of juvenile crabs for potential future stock enhancement efforts. The remaining ovigerous females will be used for early life history and culturing experiments at the Kodiak Laboratory.
Ten blue king crab broodstock are collected from St. Mathews Island on the NOAA Bering Sea crab and groundfish survey. Five-hundred juvenile red king crabs are shipped to Sara Persselin at Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Kodiak Laboratory, for growth studies to determine spatial requirements of juvenile red king crab.
University of Alaska scientists in Juneau conduct studies to understand red king crab molting behavior and how hormones regulate molt timing. Ongoing habitat studies in Juneau aim to understand how habitats support red king crab populations through the first year of life. Laboratory studies determine which substrates young crabs prefer. Field studies identify juvenile red king crab predators and investigate predator-habitat interactions using SCUBA techniques and underwater cameras.
An additional 600 juvenile red king crabs are shipped to Al Stoner in Newport, Oregon, for growth studies.
Ben Daly and Jim Swingle begin the 2009 nursery experiments, examining the effects of diets and densities on juvenile king crab growth and survival. An additional goal of 2009 nursery experiments is to determine the effects of calcium and astaxanthin dietary supplements on the degree of juvenile cannibalism and coloration. Janelle Christiansen of Old Harbor assists Swingle and Daly in nursery experiments.
Using large scale king crab hatchery protocols developed, tested and refined during 2007 and 2008, Jim Swingle and Ben Daly produce over 250,000 red king crab glaucothoe in eight 1200L production science tanks and 12 190L experimental tanks and over 100,000 C1’s. In the 1200L production science tanks, mean survival from stocking of Z1’s to glaucothoe is 53%, a considerable improvement over the 31% survival to the glaucothoe stage achieved in 2008. Overall survival to the C1 stage in the 2009 production trials is 21%, more than double the survival to C1 achieved the previous year.
AKCRRAB, with PI Ginny Eckert, receives funding from the National Marine Fisheries Service Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program for king crab aquaculture research.
Some 1,400 juvenile red king crabs are shipped to Al Stoner in Newport, Oregon, for growth studies.
Some 1,000 red king crab glaucothoe are shipped to the University of Alaska in Juneau for use in growth, molting physiology and habitat selection studies.
One hundred blue king crab glaucothoe are shipped to the University of Alaska in Juneau for similar growth and molting physiology studies.
Researchers at Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Kodiak Laboratory, conduct red king crab larval rearing studies, which investigate effects of light intensity on molt timing, growth, and survival.
Lowell Wakefield Symposium Biology and Management of Exploited Crab Populations Under Climate Change, in Anchorage, includes a session on Stock Enhancement and Culture. Posters and presentations are given by Ginny Eckert, Sara Persselin, Celeste Leroux, Ben Daly, Jim Swingle, Scott Vulstek, Miranda Westphal, Jodi Pirtle and Brad Stevens. Jodi Pirtle wins “Best student presentation” and Miranda Westphal wins “Best student poster.” The Alutiiq Pride Shellfish hatchery holds an open house and tour for Wakefield attendees.
Ginny Eckert and Ben Daly give presentations describing AKCRRAB research at the 2009 National Shellfisheries Symposium in Savannah, Georgia. Daly earns honorable mention for “Best student presentation.”
AKCRRAB hosts legislators and agency personnel at an open house in Juneau at the University of Alaska Southeast.
Red king crab broodstock from Bristol Bay hatch larvae at Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, which are used in studies investigating effects of stocking density, diet, and temperature.
Eight hundred red king crab juveniles are shipped to the University of Alaska in Juneau for use in growth, molting physiology and habitat selection studies.
Blue king crab broodstock from Little Diomede Island hatch larvae, which are used in larval rearing studies investigating effects of temperature and diet. Increased temperature is shown to significantly decrease intermolt duration without sacrificing survival.
Twenty red king crab broodstock are collected in Bristol Bay via F/V Stormbird.
Hatchery-cultured juvenile red king crabs are used in habitat and predator-prey studies conducted at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Newport, Oregon. Studies reveal the importance of complex structure changes as crabs grow. Presence, density, and complexity of habitat also mediate predation rates.
Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery receives funding from American Native Administration (ANA) to continue king crab aquaculture research and explore the possibility of hatchery development in Old Harbor.
David Tallmon and Scott Vulstek begin red king crab genetics research at the University of Alaska in Juneau with samples collected from NOAA, ADFG surveys, and other sources. Studies aim to gain a better understanding of stock structure, the scale and location of genetically distinct stocks, and mating structure of red king crab in Alaskan waters.
700 red king crab juveniles are shipped to the University of Alaska in Juneau for use in growth, molting physiology and habitat selection studies.
Ben Daly and Jim Swingle begin a large-scale, two-stage, 12 week red king crab nursery study examining the effects of stocking density, diet, and substrate on the growth and survival of juveniles. Findings from this research are detailed in Effects of diet, stocking density, and substrate on survival and growth of hatchery-cultured red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) juveniles in Alaska, USA, a paper coauthored by Ben Daly, Jim Swingle, and Ginny Eckert and published in the scientific journal Aquaculture in 2009.
In the first successful shipment of juvenile red king crabs, 1500 juveniles are sent to Al Stoner in Newport, Oregon, for use in habitat studies. Survival was excellent, indicating great potential to conduct experiments with hatchery raised crabs outside the hatchery.
Jim Swingle and Ben Daly conduct larval rearing experiments and production science trials on blue king crab larvae produced by broodstock collected off Little Diomede Island. Peak survivals from Z1 to glaucothoe were 68% and 49% in the experimental and production trial tanks, respectively.
Jim Swingle produces 120,000 red king crab glaucothoe in nine 1200L production science tanks, with a mean survival from Z1 to glaucothoe of 31%. Highest survival from stocking to the glaucothoe stage is 68% with 40,800 glaucothoe produced in a single 1200L tank. Overall, 40,000 C1’s are produced and subsequently used in juvenile rearing experiments conducted in Seward and Juneau, Alaska, and Newport, Oregon.
Celeste Leroux is awarded a Knauss fellowship, which supports students to work in Washington, DC, alongside policy makers dealing with fisheries related issues.