From 2018 to 2021, an estimated 10 billion snow crabs disappeared from the eastern Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, with the population plummeting to record lows in 2021.
About snow crabs:
- The snow crab is named after the climate where it lives: the coldest parts of the North Atlantic Sea and the Northern Pacific Ocean, where the water temperature is always below 4°C.
- Appearance: On top they are brownish in color and underneath they are lighter. Their eyes are green or greenish blue.
- Males and females can be distinguished by the shape of their abdominal flaps. On males this flap is triangular, and on females it is broadly rounded.
- Distribution: These are found off the coast of Alaska in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas.
- Habitat: Usually, cold, arctic water makes ideal habitat for snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio).
Key points about the Bering Sea
- It is bordered by the US state of Alaska to the east and northeast, the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Far Eastern region of Russiain the west, and the chain of the Aleutian Islands in the south.
- It is connected with the Chukchi Sea of the Arctic Ocean via the Bering Strait in the north.
- The Bering Sea can be divided into two equal portions: a shallow area along the continental shelf in the northern and eastern parts of the sea, and a deeper area in its southwestern part.
- This deeper portion of the sea is divided by ridges into three basins, namely the Aleutian Basin, the Bowers Basin, and the Komandor Basin.
- The deepest point of the Bering Sea is located in the Bowers Basin at a depth of 4,097 m.
- The two rivers which drain into the sea are the Anadyr and the Yukon River.