Alaska Cancels Snow Crab Season as Populations Plunge

Oct 17, 2022

Analysis of Snow Crab Harvest 2011-2021

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) has canceled the yearly harvests of several snow crab species in Bristol Bay. It cited decreasing numbers due to overfishing. Ecologists are concerned about the impact of climate change. The move threatens the region’s $200 million crab fishing industry. It was already hard-hit by low yields last year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has estimated that the snow crab population along Alaska’s west coast has fallen from roughly 8 billion in 2018 to just over 1 billion in 2022. That's a 92% drop. The cause is unknown. NOAA scientists strongly suspect warming waters in the Bering Sea have played a major role. Juvenile crabs need cold water to develop. So, some believe that billions of crabs have migrated from Bristol Bay to deeper waters.

“Did they run up north to get that colder water?” an Alaskan fisherman told CBS News. “Did they completely cross the border? Did they walk off the continental shelf on the edge there, over the Bering Sea?”

The ADFG shut down crab harvests in hopes the population will recover. However, it means those who depend on the crabs will need to weather another difficult year. Last season’s harvest was the smallest in 40 years.

“It’s going to be life-changing, if not career-ending, for people,” Dean Gribble Sr. told NBC News. He's been crabbing since the 1970s. “A lot of these guys with families and kids, there’s no option other than getting out. That’s where the hammer is going to fall — on the crew.”

If the reader wanted to know more about why snow crabs were harvested north of Bristol bay in 2021 they should reference _______. (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. the infographic only
b. the second paragraph of the article
c. both the infographic and the article
d. none of the above
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

News brought to you by The Juice

Start a free trial today