Stalin’s last Red Army

Monday, 4 May 2015 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Red king crab © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - www.afsc.noaa.gov

Red king crab © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – www.afsc.noaa.gov

The king crab is native to the Bering Sea, north Pacific Ocean, around the Kamchatka Peninsula and neighbouring Alaskan waters. It was introduced artificially by Soviet Union‘s Joseph Stalin into the Murmansk Fjord, Barents Sea, during the 1960s to provide new, valuable catch for Soviet fishermen. The average temperature of the water for general survival of the crab is between 39°F (4°C) and 50°F (10°C). The crabs prefer to be in the lower temperatures but can continue a stable life cycle in the warmer temperatures. The depth at which it can live has a lot to do with what stage of their life cycle they are in; newly born crabs stay in the more shallow waters where there is plenty of food and protection for them to survive.

Usually after the age of two, the crabs move down to depths of 20–50 metres (66–164 ft) and take part in what is known as podding; hundreds of crabs come together in tight, highly concentrated groups. Adult crabs are found usually more than 200m down on the sand and muddy areas in the intertidal zones. They migrate in the winter/ early spring to shallower depths for mating, but most of their lives are spent in the deep waters where they feed. Red king crabs can be very large, sometimes reaching a carapace width of 28 cm (11 in) and a leg span of 1.8 m (6 ft). It was named after the color it turns when it is cooked rather than the color of a living animal, which tends to be more burgundy. It is the most coveted of the commercially sold king crab species, and is the most expensive per unit weight. It is most commonly caught in the Bering Sea and Norton Sound, Alaska, and is particularly difficult to catch, but is nonetheless one of the most preferred crabs for consumption. Red king crabs are experiencing a steady decline in numbers in their native far east coastal waters for unclear reasons. Fishing controls set by the United States in the 1980s and 2000s have failed to stem the decline.

Red king crab © Elmar78 Red king crab © Sasha Isachenko/cc-by-sa-3.0 Red king crab © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - www.afsc.noaa.gov
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Red king crab © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - www.afsc.noaa.gov
In the Barents Sea, however, it is an invasive species and its population is increasing tremendously (that’s why Norwegian fishermen call them “Stalin’s last Red Army”). This is causing great concern to local environmentalists and local fishermen as the crab eats everything it comes across and is spreading very rapidly. Since its introduction it has spread westwards along the Norwegian coast and also northwards, having reached the island group of Svalbard. The species keeps on advancing southwards along the coast of Norway and some scientists think they are advancing at about 50 km (31 mi) a year, though that could be an underestimation. Despite these concerns the species is protected by diplomatic accords between Norway and Russia, and a bilateral fishing commission decides how to manage the stocks and imposes fishing quotas. West of the North Cape on Norway’s northern tip, the Scandinavian country is allowed to manage its crab population itself. Only 259 Norwegian fishermen are allowed to catch it, and they see the king crab as a blessing, as it is an expensive delicacy.

Read more on visitnorway.com – King crab safaris in Finnmark and Wikipedia Red king crab. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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