Population assessment of snow crab, Chionoecetes opilio, in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas including oil and gas lease area

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Deployment of plumb-staff beam trawl used to catch C. opilio during BeauFish 2011 onboard Norseman II in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea

Deployment of plumb-staff beam trawl used to catch C. opilio during RUSALCA onboard R/V Prof. Khromov in the Chukchi Sea

View of the trawl gear being deployed

The content of the cod end was emptied into tubs.

Sieving a muddy trawl before sorting onboard Norseman II during BeauFish 2011 in the Beaufort Sea.



Sorting different species of invertebrates including snow crabs from the trawl.


During BeauFish 2011 two 12 hour teams were alternating to make the best use of ship time. This night crew saw little daylight for three weeks.

A single snow crab with the epifaunal community, dominated by the brittle star Ophiura sarsi at that location in the western Beaufort Sea.

Catch of small snow crabs in the southern Chukchi Sea.


By numbers, small crabs dominated this trawl haul in the southern Chukchi Sea.

Snow crab, Chionoecetes opilio, from the Beaufort Sea.

Adult snow crab from the Chukchi Sea are much smaller than those harvested in the southern Bering Sea.

Face-to-face with a large male snow crab from the Beaufort Sea.


The carapace of these young snow crabs is not much larger than a thumb nail.

Mature females snow crabs with big belly flap under which the egg clutch is hidden.


Mature Chionoecetes opilio females such as this one have abdominal flaps that cover the entire abdomen.

Mature female carrying her orange eggs attached to her abdominal flap.

This female snow crab carried a clutch and the color of the ovaries indicates that new eggs are maturing to form a new clutch in the next season.

Chionoecetes opilio females can be identified by their rounded abdominal flap. In immature females like this one, the flap does not cover the whole abdomen.

This immature snow crab female has white ovaries that indicate eggs are not yet developing. Active ovaries would be indicated by a bright orange color.

Chionoecetes opilio males can be identified by the shape of their tower-like abdominal flap that never covers the whole abdomen.


This mature snow crab female was totally overgrown by barnacles indicating that she has been in this shell for quite a while.

The project PIs holding one of the largest C. opilio caught during the BeauFish 2011 survey. (photo taken by Lorena Edenfield)

School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences PhD student Lauren Divine sorting snow crab muscle samples from the Beaufort Sea for stable isotope analysis.

Colton Lipka in the lab

Volunteer Daniela Stoehr

Carlos Serratos in lab

page modified February 14, 2013 .