By: Clay Lorigan
The disappearance of animals in everyday life is not out of the ordinary. However, when over 10 billion of them vanish, someone could assume there would be more attention brought to it. This was not the case for the Alaskan snow crab. Many people do not know that from 2018-2022, there was a major decrease in the number of crabs in the Bering Sea. Scientists are still trying to figure out what could have caused this sudden crash, and many believe it’s due to warmer waters and the lack of sea ice. This ice is a very important part of these crabs’ lives, and with it gone starvation and disease can arise. Because of this decrease in the crab population, Alaska canceled its entire snow crab harvest for the 2022 season. Due to this cancellation, it is said that the fishery lost over $287 million dollars.
Scientists are still trying to figure out what caused this disappearance and most believe it’s due to global warming and warmer seas. Another theory on what happened is that when the sea warmed up, there was a sudden increase in disease that killed off many of them. They also investigated the idea that they may have just moved from the southeast to the north of the sea. However, when they did look, they found that none of them had moved there.
When Brenna Spencer (ADT) was asked if she had heard of this disappearance. She said, “No, I had no idea.” She was then asked if she had any idea of what could have happened, she replied, “They probably just moved into colder waters since they’re artic animals.” Like Brenna, Noah Wysocki (ADT), Syndee Petruzzi (BioMed), and Max Delp-Gray (ADT) all said they have not heard of the crabs going missing. Although, they all had different opinions on what could have happened to them. Noah said,” I think they probably died.” In the same boat, Syndee said, “They might have eaten plastic and died.” Contrasting to all of these, Max brings up a different point. He said, “If I had to guess, it could be due to overfishing during COVID.”
There are many theories as to what happened. Either way, it was starting a phenomenon.