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Snow Crabs by the Millions Invade Barents King Crab Fishery
The Dutch Harbor Fisherman ^ | February 15, 2008 | The Dutch Harbor Fisherman

Posted on 02/15/2008 6:48:12 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL

It’s an invasive species problem that Alaska would love to have. Millions of snow crabs are on the march in the Barents Sea, and no one knows how they got there or what to do with them – yet.

The Barents Sea, which straddles Norway and Russia, is the same source of all of that jumbo king crab – much of it caught illegally'a0– that wreaked havoc on Alaska’s market for the past couple of years.

But unlike king crabs, which were purposely introduced by Russia into those waters in 1966, the opilio (snow) crab is a true invasive species. Longtime market analyst Ken Talley reports that no one is sure how the snow crab reached the Barents Sea. The first sightings appeared in the Russian zone in 1996.

"The most likely way, say scientists, is from ballast water in tankers that ply the waters," Talley wrote in his bi-monthly Seafood Trends newsletters.

According to Jan Sundet, a leading Norwegian scientist and crab expert, the snow crab stock is estimated at 10-12 million adults, similar to the abundance of the region’s king crab.

No matter how they got there, the snow crabs are spreading fast.

"They are now routinely caught by Russian and Norwegian king crab fishermen," Talley said.

The Norwegians have no interest in such a fishery at this time, Talley added. Rather, they are worried about the environmental impacts of this invasive species on their traditional fisheries. By law, fishermen are forbidden from returning any snow crab back to the Barents Sea to keep them from spreading.

The Russians, on the other hand, appear more interested, Talley said.

"Currently, there are no official discussions or negotiations between Russia and Norway about a snow crab fishery," he added.

Scientists are asking for government funding for research and stock assessments on the Barents Sea snow crab. When and if the situation clarifies, a commercial fishery will develop, Talley predicts.

"Fishermen and marketers are watching the situation carefully," he said." The impact of a fishery with huge volumes of snow crab could roil the crab market just as Barents Sea red king crab has done."

Alaska supplies only about 10 percent to the U.S. snow crab market, which purchases roughly100 million pounds per year. The bulk of the catch comes from Russia and primarily, eastern Canada.

Deadliest catch? Think again.

It comes as a surprise that the most lethal fishery is not crabbing in the Bering Sea.

Pacific Fishing magazine reports that Dungeness crabbers in the Pacific Northwest have the highest fatality rate of them all – 17 deaths in the past seven years.

That’s 50 percent higher than Bering Sea crabbers and four times the rate of all U.S. fisheries.

Labels are misleading.

Many popular foods claim they are "Made in America" – but the stuff that’s in them probably comes from elsewhere, notably China. Because of cheap labor and minimal environmental regulations, China now dominates the world market in vitamin supplements and other chemical food additives commonly used in American processed foods, such as stabilizers and emulsifiers.

But U.S. food makers are not required to disclose the source of the ingredients in their products, and that leads to lots of labeling loopholes.

"With raw materials, if a product is changed substantially, like breaded, it becomes a product of the U.S. no matter where the raw material comes from. So if you’re interested in what the raw material is, there is really no way to tell," said Pat Shanahan, program director with the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers marketing group. GAPP represents all Alaska shore-based and at-sea pollock producers.

To help ease the confusion for seafood buyers, GAPP uses its own prominent label to assure buyers of its origin.

"Our competing products are Alaska pollock that is caught in Russian waters. It’s headed and gutted and frozen on board the Russian boats and shipped to China for further processing. But if that fish is given a crispy coating Stateside, the product you see on supermarket shelves will say ‘Product of USA,’" Shanahan explained.

The same confusion applies to canned seafood. Companies can sell foreign or farmed canned salmon, for example, with the same labels as Alaska products. Because new labeling laws on country of origin don’t apply to canned seafoods, customers can’t tell if it is truly an Alaska product.

Certainly, most major food companies are rigorous about the ingredients they use. But at a time when the United States is importing more foods than ever, federal budget constraints have reduced inspections to less than 1 percent of all U.S. food imports.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: china; crabs; foodsafety; seafood

1 posted on 02/15/2008 6:48:13 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: Duchess47; jahp; LilAngel; metmom; EggsAckley; Battle Axe; SweetCaroline; Grizzled Bear; ...
MADE IN CHINA POTTERY STAMP

(Please FReepmail me if you would like to be on or off of the list.)
2 posted on 02/15/2008 6:48:31 PM PST by JACKRUSSELL
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I don’t give a shoot where they come from, or who’s invading whom — snow crab, I’ll eat ‘em!!!


3 posted on 02/15/2008 6:51:15 PM PST by Migraine (...diversity is great... until it happens to YOU...)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

It’s mother effen dinner time baby! GO GET SOME! YEAH!


4 posted on 02/15/2008 6:52:34 PM PST by Chucktallica101
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Good news for Red Lobster!


5 posted on 02/15/2008 6:53:37 PM PST by Clintonfatigued (You can't be serious about national security unless you're serious about border security)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
[N]o one knows how they got there or what to do with them – yet.

Here's a novel idea: http://www.fishex.com/fish-market/crab/productpage-bbrkc2_.jpg
6 posted on 02/15/2008 6:54:13 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth (Get yer red meat, tobaccy and ammo, now. The krinton syndicate is moving back into the WH.)
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To: All

yummmmy crab.....Has anyone seen the show Deadest catch?
Good show!


7 posted on 02/15/2008 6:54:37 PM PST by Poetgal26 (God bless the US Military and our allies!)
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To: Migraine
One man’s “invasive species” is another man’s gourmet treat.
8 posted on 02/15/2008 6:56:28 PM PST by leadhead (Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think,)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
reminds me of the mccormick vodka scam. mccormick, in russia, would pour blue dye into barrels of vodka and label it "idustrial solvent."

once shipped to the American side, a substance would be added to make the liquid clear again.

then the liquid would be bottled and sold to distributors as vodka.

all the while, the russian importers would avoid import taxes.

i wonder if the russians, the chinese, or the American importers reap the greatest profit here.

9 posted on 02/15/2008 6:57:55 PM PST by robomatik (Wine plug: RenascentVineyards.com (Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot))
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Because of cheap labor and minimal environmental regulations, China now dominates the world market in vitamin supplements and other chemical food additives commonly used in American processed foods, such as stabilizers and emulsifiers.

People don't realize, or aren't smart enough to recognize, that a significant portion of their finished foods and medicines could be cut off in two weeks, not to mention virtually 100% of the luxury stuff.

10 posted on 02/15/2008 6:59:13 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture™)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Photobucket
11 posted on 02/15/2008 6:59:34 PM PST by digger48 (http://prorev.com/legacy.htm)
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To: Clintonfatigued

They get more clams for King Crab than for Snow Crab. Maybe we should find a way to protect the more valuable King Crab stock from the Snow Crab invaders.


12 posted on 02/15/2008 7:01:09 PM PST by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
"So if you’re interested in what the raw material is, there is really no way to tell,"

There is no way for a consumer to easily tell but I can guarantee there better be a lot numbered record of every 'ingredient' in every batch of foodstuff overseen by the USDA. They will know in the event of any recall...

13 posted on 02/15/2008 7:01:19 PM PST by Dust in the Wind (Fund A Red Meat Eatery Regularly)
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To: robomatik
"industrial" solvent. ahem.
14 posted on 02/15/2008 7:01:40 PM PST by robomatik (Wine plug: RenascentVineyards.com (Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot))
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To: JACKRUSSELL

btt


15 posted on 02/15/2008 7:06:57 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Imagine a the Russian version of Deadliest Catch.
16 posted on 02/15/2008 7:07:58 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: JACKRUSSELL
And this is a bad thing???

17 posted on 02/15/2008 7:13:16 PM PST by djf (I think McCain deserves a chance. After all, he is on R side!)
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To: Unknowing

Perhaps the UN could threaten to investigate the possibility of initiating research into a proposal to consider a non-binding resolution regarding sanctions against the invading species.

That’ll fix ‘em. Them d**n crabs won’t dare any further action.


18 posted on 02/15/2008 7:14:29 PM PST by biggerten (Love you, Mom.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Maybe we should clarify this situation.


19 posted on 02/15/2008 7:31:48 PM PST by Beowulf9
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To: JACKRUSSELL

Send lemon and butter.


20 posted on 02/15/2008 7:35:18 PM PST by RichInOC (...somebody was going to say it...why not me?)
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To: djf
I fished King Crab in the Bering, twenty years ago. Some time after that, I fished in various trawl fisheries off California.

Coincidentally to other things, we used to catch a few crabs that looked almost exactly like the ones you have in the photo. They were either snow crabs, or a close relative.

We'd only get a few at a time, or a few a day, not enough to establish a fishery. Instead, every night for dinner, besides whatever else was on the menu, was fresh crab salad. Big bowl, full of just ordinary iceberg lettuce, tomato, carrot, sharp cheddar, thickly covered with freshly cooked and shelled crab, then topped with ranch or vinaigrette. Sometimes I'd even open a bottle of good Paso Robles zinfandel, or cabernet.

We'd eat so much we could barely bend over enough to work, the next time we dumped the catch on deck.

Those were the days. It was a good boat to work on!

21 posted on 02/15/2008 9:32:45 PM PST by BlueDragon (what a sad song it has become, no?)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

precooked crab is too salty. It’s garbage.


22 posted on 02/15/2008 9:54:33 PM PST by Born to Conserve
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To: Migraine

I have no problem whatsoever with crab legs.


23 posted on 02/16/2008 5:45:18 PM PST by rdl6989
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