Symposium Information


Shifts in climate, fishing, and ecological interactions have been implicated in fluctuations and collapses of crab stocks around the world. For example, the collapse of red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) fisheries in Alaska in the early 1980s led to much speculation about the roles of a climate regime shift from cool to warm conditions in the late 1970s, associated changes in ecosystem structure including increases in groundfish predators, and overfishing or habitat alterations by large fleets of fishing vessels. Despite 25 years of closed fisheries, most stocks of red king crabs in Alaska have not recovered. Progress into understanding the causative mechanisms has been frustratingly slow, prompting recent initiation of a pilot multiagency king crab stock enhancement and rehabilitation effort. For more information on this program, see the AKCRRAB Web site.

Fisheries for Dungeness crabs (Cancer magister) along the U.S. West Coast and blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) along the U.S. East Coast provide further examples. For many decades, large, fluctuating catches of both species seemed sustainable, despite extremely high exploitation rates by overcapitalized fishing fleets. Whereas this situation generally remains the case for Dungeness crabs, much concern exists for blue crabs following sharp declines in stock abundance and catches along most of the Atlantic coast in the last decade. What have we learned about crab population dynamics, resiliency to fishing, climate effects, and the role of habitat from these and other examples of crab stocks and fisheries from around the world?


The goal of this symposium is to bring together international crab fishery scientists and managers to share insights into the mechanisms behind synergistic effects of human-caused and natural fluctuations and collapses of crab stocks and fisheries worldwide. The organizers seek to foster a comparative approach across different marine ecosystems in the face of climate change. We will build on past symposia, such as the 2001 Lowell Wakefield Symposium on "Crabs in Cold Water Regions: Biology, Management, and Economics." Rather than a geographical focus on crabs in cold-water regions, this symposium takes a process-oriented approach by focusing on the mechanisms behind crab population-level responses relevant to fisheries management in an ecosystem context. Submissions from arctic to tropical ecosystems are encouraged.


Oral presentations and posters addressing the crab symposium theme are sought covering the following topics:


A preliminary agenda has been posted on the Web and will be updated as needed.

Proceedings Book

Alaska Sea Grant will publish a peer-reviewed proceedings book, including full papers based on oral and poster presentations, soon after the symposium. Full manuscripts are due by March 10, 2009; see manuscript guidelines for information on how to prepare submissions. Please submit electronic copy to Sue Keller.

Location and Facilities

Spring weather in Alaska is always unpredictable. In Anchorage, average temperatures range from 15°F to 30°F, or –9°C to –1°C, with about 11 hours of daylight. Be prepared for cool, wet weather, and bring your sunglasses as well.

All meeting sessions will be held at the Captain Cook Hotel, 939 W. 5th Ave., in downtown Anchorage. The Captain Cook offers very nice accommodations with wireless Internet in meeting and guest rooms. There are many guest amenities, including a café, fine dining, business center, health club, swimming pool, and whirlpool. Most guest rooms have great mountain or inlet views.

Guest rooms will be available at the special meeting rate of $99/night single or double occupancy, plus 12% bed tax. Be sure to make your reservations directly with the hotel by February 10, 2009. This rate extends three days prior to and three days after the meeting dates. You might consider taking in the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race on Saturday, March 7.

Reservations can be made at the Captain Cook Hotel by calling 1-800-843-1950, or 907-276-6000, or online at Use group reservations code crabs2009 to receive the special group rate.

Hotel Captain Cook
939 W. 5th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501
1-800-843-1950 toll free or 907-276-6000

Field Trip

Want to see more of Alaska? Join a field trip to Seward, Alaska, on Monday, March 9. The bus will depart the Captain Cook Hotel around 8:30 a.m. and will return in the early evening. Enjoy a scenic three-hour ride to Seward along one of the nation's official scenic byways. In Seward, you will have lunch and tour a hatchery to learn about king crab culture and the Alaska king crab restoration and rehabilitation efforts. Complete your visit with a tour of the Alaska SeaLife Center and/or explore the quaint town of Seward.

Cost is $50/person, which includes transportation, lunch, and a tour of the hatchery. Please email Sherri Pristash immediately if you are interested in going on the field trip, and go online to the secure registration page to pay.

A behind-the-scenes tour of the Alaska SeaLife Center is available to field-trip participants. The cost will be $17 per person, paid on-site to the Alaska SeaLife Center. Those interested in this special tour should contact Sherri to be put on the tour roster.


The registration fee for this symposium is $225.00 US if paid on or before February 10, 2009. Late registration fee will be $250.00 after February 10. The fee covers light continental breakfast and break refreshments daily, a catered reception on March 10, symposium materials, and a published proceedings book, postage paid. You are urged to register and pay your fees in advance so that adequate materials are available.

You can register online for the symposium using our secure online registration. If you do not wish to register online, you may mail or fax a printable PDF registration form with your US–funds check made out to Alaska Sea Grant College Program. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted.

If you have any questions or need further information, please see the contact information at the bottom of this page.

Steering Committee


Symposium Contact Information

Sherri Pristash, Symposium Coordinator
Alaska Sea Grant College Program
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 755040
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5040
Phone: 907-474-6701 • Fax: 907-474-6285