Red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, and blue king crab, Paralithodes platypus, are important commercial and subsistence fishery species in Alaska. King crab stocks in Alaska have been fished commercially since the 1950s; however, in the 1980s many stocks crashed. The red king crab stock in Kodiak has never recovered, and the blue king crab stock in the Pribilof Islands has been in an overfished state for nearly 20 years despite both stocks being closed to commercial fishing for decades. It is not known if this is due to an ecosystem level shift affecting interspecies interactions (e.g., predation by groundfish) or if the population is recruitment limited at a particular life history stage (e.g., larval drift outside of the region). One potential solution to restore local populations of king crab is the stocking of hatchery reared juveniles into recruitment-limited nursery habitats. This research opportunity is to support efforts to determine the feasibility of stock enhancement for these species and includes 1) optimizing hatchery techniques for rearing king crab, 2) field release experiments using SCUBA to monitor hatchery reared crabs after release, or 3) field or laboratory experiments on crab behavior, feeding, and predation designed to inform release strategies.
Long, W.C., Cummiskey, P., Munk, J.E., 2018. How does stocking density affect enhancement success for hatchery-reared red king crab? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 75, 1940-1948.
Long, W.C., Van Sant, S.B., Haaga, J.A., 2015. Habitat, predation, growth, and coexistence: Could interactions between juvenile red and blue king crabs limit blue king crab productivity? J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 464, 58-67.
Daly, B., Long, W.C., 2014. Inter-cohort cannibalism of early benthic phase blue king crabs (Paralithodes platypus): Alternate foraging strategies in different habitats lead to different functional responses. PLoS ONE 9, e88694.