Washington: Get Ready to Pay an “Arm and a Crab Leg”
One of my favorite foods that I spoil myself now and again is crab legs. My favorite food just got a lot more expensive if not impossible to find now after this news from Alaska!
What is Going on with Crabs in Alaska?
If you haven't heard, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game just canceled the entire snow crab fishing season for the first time in the history of fishing. Officials canceled the season after realizing they were missing 1 billion crabs in the Bering Sea. The decline has been happening for the last 2 years and has resulted in a 90% reduction in numbers according to CBS news. What does that mean for Washington State?
How Does Canceling the Season Affect Washington State?
The most obvious answer is prices will skyrocket, not only for snow crab but for all crab. The snow crab was the cheapest and most readily available option on the market, but now it is completely gone. The northwest also lost about 280 million dollars from the loss of this year's snow crab season according to the Seattle Times (paywall).
The Impact Reaches Farther Then Just the Economy
This does not only affect the economy of the northwest but scientists are worried about what this means for the ecosystem of the ocean off our shore. Alaska scientists think the rapid warming of Alaska has warmed the waters off its coast. The crabs and most organisms off Alaska's coast need cold water to survive, causing them to either migrate north or die. That makes for a very uncertain future if Alaska's ecosystem is in trouble and all signs point that it is.
What is Alaska Doing to Fix the Problem?
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that "management of Bering Sea snow crab must now focus on conservation and rebuilding given the conditions of the stock" according to APNews. Hopefully, the crabs will come back but it doesn't look good. It is too early to tell how this will affect northwest crabbing in the future, but for now, get ready to pay an "arm & a crab-leg" for your favorite food.