Biologists culture southeast Alaska red king crab at Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery
Alaska Sea Grant biologists have successfully cultured red king crab larvae from females collected in southeast Alaska. Previous success was achieved using red king crabs from Bristol Bay, and this experiment aimed to determine if broodstock origin impacts hatchery production success. Culturing protocols developed for Bristol Bay crabs were applied to larvae from southeast Alaska broodstock. Survival from stocking to the post-larval (glaucothoe) stage was 43% for Bristol Bay crabs and 60% for southeast Alaska crabs. The improved survival of the southeast Alaska crabs suggests that hatchery protocols for rearing red king crabs can be applied to stocks outside Bristol Bay. This is an important finding as future stock enhancement programs may require broodstock from specific areas that are targeted for releases. The ability to culture crabs from different locations is critical for statewide enhancement. In this effort, we took broodstock from southeast Alaska, which is not currently a target for enhancement, so that we might use the resulting juvenile crabs in summer field studies to evaluate predation effects on hatchery-cultured juveniles. Juvenile red king crabs cultured at the hatchery will also be used in laboratory experiments at the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center Behavioral Ecology Lab in Newport, Oregon, 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.