Climate change is to blame for the deaths of snow crabs


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With the Bering Sea water getting warmer, it has affected the lifespan of snow crabs.

By Max Honermeier, Opinion Columnist

Another devastating blow has been dealt to our fragile ecosystem. Billions of Arctic crustaceans have lost their habitats and their lives because of human actions.

A news release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the Bering Sea snow crab season has been canceled this year. While the closed season will have a crushing impact on the fishing industry, there may be no crabs left if immediate action isn’t taken.

Surveys of the Bering Sea have shown that the Alaskan snow crab population has been decimated in recent years. Miranda Westphal, a biologist with the Alaska Fish and Game Department said, “From 2018 to 2021, we lost about 90 percent of these animals,” according to the New York Times.

The main cause for the mass die-off of crabs is the disappearance of their habitat. As an arctic species, the crabs need frigid water to survive. As oceans get warmer, the crabs are forced to huddle together in the few remaining cold spots.

With so many animals crammed into a tiny fraction of their former domain, disease and competition over food killed billions. Such a rapid change in the water temperature doesn’t happen naturally; as with so many other species whose populations have declined, climate change is responsible.

The rapid fall of snow crab populations should act as a wake up call that our society is causing irreparable damage to the planet we rely on. Yet ecological disasters like this have become so common that most people don’t notice. By the time everyone starts taking climate change as seriously as we need to, it will be too late.

It’s long past due that we give our environment the respect it deserves. If we continue to put humanity above all else, humanity will soon be all that’s left; and we can’t survive on our own.