Decision taken by Fisheries Department due to Alaska Snow Crabs Disappearance:
Due to this the snow crab harvest season has been called canceled by the Alaska Board of Fisheries and North Pacific Fishery Management Council. It has also been mentioned that the population of snow crabs has gone down below the lowest level.
This decision by the council is a blow to the state’s crab industry, which forms a major part of Alaska’s economy and is also a global source of seafood.
In 2018, the population of snow crabs was 8 billion, and shockingly, it reduced by 7 billion in three years and remained 1 billion in 2021. And the number of male snow crabs has gone down more significantly, that is by 40%.
Why have Alaska Snow Crabs Disappeared?
A number of reasons are coming up for Alaska snow crabs’ disappearance. Some are saying that the decrease in population is because of overfishing.
But others and more importantly, scientists are of the view that global warming is the main cause behind the decreasing numbers of Alaska’s snow crabs.
Michael Litzow, who is the Kodiak lab director for NOAA Fisheries, says that snow crabs can remain alive in ice-cold water. Due to global warming, the sea waters are getting hotter day by day. This is making life uncomfortable for the snow crabs and the oceans lying in the area around Alaska are becoming unfriendly for these species.
The climate in the Arctic area is getting warmer four times faster than in other parts of the world. And Alaska’s the Bering Sea lies in that area. It is also possible that the Alaska snow crabs have started looking for colder options for their survival. And as a result, their population in the Bering Sea decreased.
It may take at least three to four years to bring the population of snow crabs back to normal and that too depends upon the climate conditions if they improve with time. Otherwise, the problem will become more severe with time.