Harvest cuts loom after big drops in king, snow crab populations

Catches for Alaska’s premier crab fisheries in the Bering Sea could dip this year based on results of annual summer surveys.

An annual report by NOAA Fisheries called “The Eastern Bering Sea Continental Shelf Bottom Trawl Survey: Results from Commercial Crab Species,” dubbed the  “crab map,” shows big drops over the last year in the abundance of legal-size males for both snow crab and red king crab in Bristol Bay. (Only legal males may be retained for sale.) (…)

Acid oceans road show

An interactive learning tool to help people better understand the impacts of corrosive oceans is traveling to coastal communities across Alaska. The Alaska Marine Conservation Council, along with Cook Inletkeeper, created an ocean acidification educational kiosk that debuted two weeks ago in Homer.

“Even though there have been a lot of scientific presentations in our communities, there hasn’t been a regular presence of information. Our goal is to make the science more understandable and more available,” said Dorothy Childers, associate director of the council.

The oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide than they did before from the burning of fossil fuels, which makes the water more acidic. That harms such shell-growing marine organisms as crabs, snails and shrimp.

Kiosk visitors can press different buttons to watch and hear scientific facts and fears about ocean acidification from experts and fishermen. Childers said the council hopes to get funding to make the kiosks permanent fixtures at harbors throughout Alaska. For now, the plan is to share this one with other communities.

“We are hoping that communities around the Gulf and Bering Sea will be interested in inviting the kiosk to come to their harbor,” she said.

Laine Welch, Alaska Dispatch News, 18 September 2015. Article.

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