Billions of snow crabs have disappeared from Alaska waters

Scientists have been left perplexed after billions of crabs and crustaceans reportedly disappeared mysteriously in the Bering Sea off the US state of Alaska in the last several years.

Ben Daly, a researcher with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), told US media outlet CNN the snow crab population shrank from about 8 billion in 2018 to 1 billion in 2021.

It said that while there would be “substantial impacts” on harvesters, the department has to balance the impacts with the “need for long-term conservation and sustainability of crab stocks”.

The authority also scrapped the Bristol Bay red king crab harvest.

Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers said some crabbers will be going out of business as a result of the cancellation.

“This is so unbelievable that this is happening. We have third-generation fishermen who are going to go out of business,” AP news agency quoted Geon as saying.Last year’s snow crab harvest of 2,540 tonnes was the smallest in more than 40 years. According to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the crab fishing industry in Alaska is worth approximately $200m.

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