Production of red and blue king crab at Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery
Larval rearing is well under way at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery as red and blue king crabs release their larvae. St. Matthew Island blue king crabs were the first to hatch larvae, which are being reared in large-scale tanks to investigate temperature effects on survival and rearing duration. The ovigerous female blue king crabs were collected off St. Matthew Island in the commercial fishery by the F/V Destination.
Red king crabs from Bristol Bay and southeast Alaska are being reared at the hatchery to determine if broodstock origin impacts hatchery production success. Previous hatchery success was achieved using red king crabs from Bristol Bay, and biologists are eager to duplicate that success with different stocks. The F/V Stormbird collected the Bristol Bay crabs in the commercial fishery, while southeast Alaska crabs were obtained by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game during the fall crab survey. Biologists are hopeful that similar production success can be achieved with the southeast Alaska crabs.
Biologists hope to improve on previous experiments and refine hatchery protocols to maximize production. When blue king crabs reach the juvenile stage, a nursery rearing experiment will test the effects of diet and density on growth and survival. King crab juveniles produced at the hatchery will be used in experiments by NOAA and University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers to better understand early juvenile king crab biology.
News Flash is edited by Ben Daly. AKCRRAB is a research and rehabilitation project sponsored by the Alaska Sea Grant College Program, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, NOAA Fisheries, the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, community groups, and industry members. For more information go to http://seagrant.uaf.edu/research/projects/initiatives/king_crab/general.