Its population decreased by almost 90%
Off the coast of Alaska, the extraction of snow crab has been stopped. Its population has declined from 8 billion in 2018 to one billion in 2021, the Alaska Fisheries Board and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Board said.
Thus, the number of crabs fell below the regulatory threshold for the opening of the fishery. More crabs are being harvested from the seas than are naturally regenerated, according to Mark Stichert, coordinator of the US Department of State Fish and Game’s Bottom Fish and Shellfish Fisheries Administration. During 2021-2022, the number of mature male snow crabs declined by about 40%, he said. The expert believes that it will take at least three to four years to restore the population.
But Michael Litzow, director of the Kodiak Fisheries Laboratory at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is confident that the disappearance of these crustaceans is not caused by fishing, but by climate change.
Michael Litzow explained that the necessary condition for the life of a snow crab is cool water, with a temperature below two degrees Celsius. As the ocean warms, the habitat around Alaska becomes more unsuitable for the species. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising four times faster than the rest of the planet. Climate change has caused a rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic region, especially in the Alaska region, reports CNN.