Update on progress of Alaska King Crab Research, Rehabilitation and Biology (AKCRRAB) Program
This experiment was aimed at testing whether broodstock origin impacts hatchery production success. Previous attempts were successful at culturing king crab larvae from crabs caught in Bristol Bay and this newest effort proved that other broodstocks, including those from Southeast Alaska, could also be successfully cultured. The ability to culture crabs from different locations is great news for future statewide enhancement projects.
The success of the fishery rehabilitation effort however, will ultimately depend on the ability of the hatchery-reared king crabs to compete for resources, find shelter and avoid predation in the wild once they are released. This June, AKCRRAB researchers shipped 4,400 juvenile hatchery-reared king crabs from the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward to the Juneau Center of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Field studies will be conducted this summer using scuba and underwater video cameras to develop successful release strategies and improve understanding of potential environmental impacts of releasing hatchery-cultured crabs into the wild.