Test Results are in: Alaska Doesn't Have (Snow) Crabs

We are not talking about an outbreak of the sexually transmitted crabs, but the tasty food version- snow crabs. Alaska has canceled the snow crab fishing season for the first time ever. Why is the snow crab fishing season canceled? They’re missing about 80% of the expected crab population which translates to about 1 billion snow crabs. What happened to the crabs? Well, this points back to warmer sea temperatures beginning in 2018. The culprit here is climate change. Then, in 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did a survey that revealed a decline in the number of juvenile crabs. According to a survey of the Bering Sea floor performed by the NOAA, of the roughly 11.7 billion snow crabs observed in 2018, only about 1.9 billion are still around now. What are the working theories on what caused this problem? Well, maybe climate change. Young crabs aren’t able to mature in cold water pools on the ocean floor. What are some of the impacts? The one that you’ll be most sad about if you enjoy eating snow crab is how expensive and scarce snow crab will be until the population starts to increase and snow crab fishing is resumed. It may not be missed much if butter starts to disappear due to the “butter board” TikTok trend, but snow crab claws and legs are a staple to a lot of seafood restaurants. This is also going to be an economic problem for Alaska and its fisheries as the loss of such a large number of crabs will inevitably impact workers. In addition, the local ecosystems will suffer too. Snow crabs eat other invertebrates, annelid worms, and mollusks. When we say “other invertebrates” yes that includes other crabs and even crabs of their own species. Snow crabs are eaten by a variety of predators including but not limited to fish, birds, and turtles. If either of those populations get out of control that could result in serious problems and result in the whole ecosystem collapsing. That’s also assuming that the local ecosystems are not already suffering due to exposure to temperatures that are not usual to the area. The shift in temperature could also cause a shift in the type of predators found in the area, as Cod thrive in warmer waters and will eat just about anything. Can't another species of crab be added to help raise the crab population in general? Not really, no. In the same way that not all people thrive in hot or cold weather, not all crabs thrive in hot or cold water. In fact, unlike people, the number of appendages, size, and body shape can be so different from crab species to crab species that it's amazing that they're all related. Currently this is all speculation, as there haven’t been any noticeable changes reported by the NOAA….yet. Is anything being done? Yes! The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has announced that it has plans to help rebuild the snow crab population. It’s really food for thought.For the latest in news and stock picks, don’t miss our podcast at https://www.arbitragetrade.com/podcasts/feed