Those larvae could eventually be released in Kodiak waters if further experiments are successful.
“The goals of the rearing season were to produce juveniles for out-planting research and to further test and refine hatchery protocols,” the lab said in a statement.
Residents of Akhiok and staff from NOAA Kodiak collected adult female crabs in fall, 2013, from Alitak Bay on Kodiak Island in cooperation. Then they shipped the crabs to the hatchery in Seward.
A lot of the program’s success depends on the diets of the larval crabs.
“After hatching in March, larvae were fed two different diets and reared in six 1,200-liter rearing tanks at a density of 50 larvae per liter,” the statement said.
One larval diet consisted solely of enriched brine shrimp called Artemia alone while the other was a mixed diet of enriched Artemia and two species of microalgae.
Survival for the last larval stage of crab, called glaucothoe, was greater than 50 percent for both diets.
Overall, 199,920 glaucothoe were produced.
The glaucothoe and juveniles are currently being reared at the hatchery, and the juveniles will be shipped to Kodiak this summer for release experiments.