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Reproductive Dynamics and Life History of Snow Crab in the
Eastern Bering Sea


see photo caption for explanation


see photo caption for explanation

Left: Late stage oocytes from a snow crab ovary. Above: Eyed snow crab eggs are attached to the female's abdomen by a stalk , or funiculus.

In 2001 the Shellfish Assessment Program of the Alaska Fisheries Science Centerís (AFSC)
Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division received funding for research aimed at improving our understanding of the reproductive dynamics and essential life-history characteristics of eastern Bering Sea (EBS) snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio).

Following the fishery disaster declaration for EBS snow crab in 1999, the U. S. Congress appropriated funds to the state of Alaska to develop a cooperative research program to restore the fishery. These funds, appropriated under the title Bering Sea Snow Crab Fishery Restoration Research, were applied by the state to four research investigations whose goals were integral to assessing the consequences of management practices on stock health, achieving stock recovery, and formulating fishery conservation and management measures that conform to the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) and the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA).

The research investigation described in the following article was designed and implemented as a collaborative effort between the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) AFSC and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Commercial Fisheries, Region IV. Considering the state-federal cooperative management framework established under the current fishery management plan for C. opilio, this research supports the missions of both NMFS and the ADF&G and, given its scope, is conducted most effectively through the joint research efforts of both agencies.

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