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News spotlight: What happened to Alaska’s snow crabs? Scientists have a few leads.

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Editor’s note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Conservation News shares a recent news story that you should know about.

Deep in the frigid east Bering Sea, snow crabs have historically flourished — supporting Alaska’s $160 million annual crabbing industry. 

Yet state officials recently sent shockwaves across the industry when they announced there would be no snow crab season this year for the first time — a big blow for commercial crabbers. The species’ population has dropped more than a staggering 80 percent, leaving officials with no choice but to call off the catch, Emma Bryce reported for The Guardian.

What’s behind the dramatic die-off? The theories all point in one direction: warming oceans. 

While the news that the snow crab population had lost billions of animals is shocking, the decline didn’t happen overnight, Erin Fedewa, research biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told The Guardian.

In 2018, an unusually large snow crab…

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