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Dutch Harbor Snow and Tanner Crab Growth Study - Post 2

April 11, 2016

NOAA Fisheries' Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation have worked cooperatively since 2004 to learn more about Bering Sea king, snow, and Tanner crabs.

Group of scientists that study crab growth next to scientific equipment

Crab collections on the F/V Sunset Bay

April 11th-18th - During early April, scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, along with scientists from the Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation collected snow and Tanner crab from the area around the Pribilof Islands. The chartered vessel F/V Sunset Bay was used to capture crab using a small Nephrops trawl net. The small net along with short tow durations helped insure high survival rates.

Over 400 immature male and female crab were collected, although sea ice prevented the collection of some size classes of snow crab.

Crab were held in onion bags in circulating seawater tanks for transportation to Dutch Harbor. Crab were then measured, placed in individual containers, and monitored daily for molting. Molting crab will be allowed to harden before re-measuring for an accurate growth per molt determination.

April 21st - To set up the experiment, crab will be measured and stored individually in "crab condos" within large flow through tanks. Brian (far right) is holding up a "crab condo" complex made of plastic containers, Jeff and Dan are measuring crabs, and Madison is writing initial size data.

Crabs are assigned numbers that are associated with the numbers on the plastic containers. We will check the crabs every day for signs of molting.