Alaska fishers fear another bleak season as crab populations dwindle in warming waters

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Crab fishermen in Alaska have been scrambling to stay afloat after two years of the Bering Sea fishery being closed or severely curtailed due to plummeting crab numbers. And they’re concerned that more of the same awaits this October when officials decide on catch limits for the upcoming season. Researchers are trying to figure out what’s caused the crab collapse, with ocean waters warmed by climate change as a prime theory. They say the warmer waters themselves aren’t killing crabs. But they may be allowing predators to move in and disease to spread more easily. They also speculate that it’s getting harder for the crabs to catch enough prey to feed rising metabolisms. 33-year-old Gabriel Prout, the third generation of his family in crab fishing, said it’s hard to see a way forward.