Delicacy crabs almost gone from the Bering Sea
Billions of snow crabs have disappeared from the Bering Sea in recent years. Now fishing for the delicacy crabs in Alaska is canceled for the first time.
The population of the popular crustacean has declined drastically in just a few years, from about eight billion in 2018 to one billion in 2021, CNN reports.
Last week, the Alaska Board of Fisheries and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council decided that the population of snow crab in the Bering Sea is too small to allow fishing.
Snow crab is the most common of all Bering Sea crab species fished commercially and is considered a delicacy. Why the stock has decreased so drastically is unclear, but one reason could be climate change, says Michael Litzow at the US agency NOAA.
The crab thrives in areas where the water temperature is below two degrees and when the sea ice disappears and the oceans warm up, the species is threatened.
Fishing for red king crab is also canceled this year, which will be the second year in a row.
A discovery of tiny young snow crabs gives hope for the future but it may take at least three to four years before they are old enough to contribute to the regrowth of the species.