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Female red king crabs collected in southeast Alaska for new study
Published:  19 October, 2012

Female red king crabs from the Juneau area were collected in October 2012 by the Alaska Department and Fish and Game on the R/V Medeia, and transported to the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Juneau Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where they will spend the winter.

These crabs are ovigerous, which means they are carrying embryos; the embryos will hatch into larvae in spring 2013.

AKCRRAB biologists from the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Oregon State University will use the larvae in a new study designed to optimize the diet of larval king crab, funded by Alaska Sea Grant.

Previous AKCRRAB studies found that larvae fed enriched Artemia had higher survival. The new study will rear larvae with specific enrichments of essential fatty acids and evaluate the condition of larvae with biochemical and hatchery health indices.

A comparison of the hatchery health index with the biochemical composition of the larvae will provide a “standard curve” to assess larval condition. If the hatchery health index proves to be a good indication of biochemical condition, the inexpensive method can be used in the hatchery setting to easily and quickly assess larval “health.” The outcome of the project will be the potential to design aquaculture live-food enrichments that are customized to the nutritional needs of Alaska king crab larvae.

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