May 9, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini.  From the lab to the wild, crab out stocking studies continue to show encouraging growth. More after this…
A red king crab out stocking study conducted by researchers at the NOAA crab lab in Kodiak is showing major signs of success. Since the trials began in 2014 divers have released nearly 30,000 baby red kings into the ocean, using several different methods to determine what will give the crab the best chance of survival.  After years of monitoring, Lab Director Bob Foy says they are doing something right.


Juvenile red king crabs freshly removed from their holding tank and ready to be counted and released.

“The neat thing is we are still seeing those crab nine months after putting them in the water. It’s the equivalent of me standing on this hill and chucking a bunch of marbles out into the ocean and then saying go find one a year later and actually finding one; if you ever lost anything in the ocean that’s almost impossible.”
The first trial included out stocking different number of crabs.
“We didn’t see a change in mortality in this density verses that density. So that suggests that we can put out about as many as we think we need to in an area, and they will survive.”
 The second study was on release timing and size.
 “There was some difference, all though the difference was not huge, we found we can still put them out as small crab,   But what we did find is that the longer you wait the less predation you see.  So at the end of the day it’s a tradeoff, the more you hold them in the lab the more they eat each other. The sooner you put them out the more they get eaten by somebody else.”
Researchers want to out-stock the crab in three different habitats around the island.
 “Something that we are going to look at,  is if we can is to put them out with some kind of structure to help protect them from predation even for a week.  And see if there is something there that can help.”
Foy says the ultimate goal is to place a hundred thousand baby king crab at each site.
“We are one project away.  Probably two maybe three years away from taking this concept that we have come up with; this feasibility study and saying, it’s feasible come and get it.”
Continue to follow the Crab out stocking study at