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Scientists in Newport may hold key to future of Alaska king crab

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 19th, 2011

The numbers of both the red and blue varieties of Alaska king crab have declined significantly, and as resource managers struggle to determine why, a small team of scientists in a most unlikely location is working on an insurance policy - trying to raise crabs from the larval stage to juveniles in a hatchery setting.

The idea isn’t to immediately begin seeding the Bering Sea or Gulf of Alaska with hatchery-raised youngsters, the scientists say. It is to see if it’s even feasible - in case it’s needed in the future.

And this all is taking place in Newport, where the only places to find king crab are in stores and restaurants. In Oregon, the Dungeness reigns supreme among crabs, but Newport is also the site of Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, a place that more than a dozen scientists and technicians from NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center call home.

The reason for locating at HMSC is simple, according to Allan Stoner, who directs the Alaska Fisheries group in Newport. “The OSU lab provides seawater facilities rivaling any in the country for research with cold-water species, and our biologists have more than 25 years experience working with the systems here,” he said.

For the complete article see the 01-19-2011 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-19-2011 paper.

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