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  • Emily Buckner

Fall 2020 ~ Newsletter

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

The Pacific Northwest Crab Research Group (PCRG) formed in December 2018 with the mission of promoting a sustainable Dungeness crab population in the Pacific Northwest. In the group’s second year of conducting research, it continued to grow as a formal organization and gain collaborators and regional recognition.

Highlights from 2020:

  • January 14th Meeting (Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend, WA) - 25 member participants braved a snow storm and met to discuss and identify research priorities and management themes for the PCRG.

Research question priorities and management themes were ranked in order of importance by meeting attendees in January 2020.

  • February 24th Larval Crab Subcommittee Meeting (Port Hudson, Port Townsend, WA) - 30 PCRG members met to prepare for the upcoming data collection season and discuss the previous year’s, as well as initiate conversations around data sharing.

  • July 28th Meeting (Zoom) - 31 member participants came together virtually to discuss a draft document for a group charter and data sharing agreement for PCRG. This included proposed communication pathways, group structure, guidelines on data usage and publication, etc.

  • Larval Crab Study - PCRG’s first major research project goal is to better estimate Dungeness crab larval abundance and timing throughout WA waters. We are addressing this goal by deploying light traps on docks/piers, which ‘fish’ at night for crab larvae (April-September) using LED lights as an attractant.

  • This year, due to COVID-19 challenges, only nine light traps were deployed by five group partners. Eight of these traps were located in inland Washington waters and one was located on the coast. Image (right) of a Swinomish light trap.

  • PCRG also began a collaboration with Dr. Nina Bednarsek (Southern California Coastal Water Research Project), who studies ocean acidification’s impact on pelagic calcifiers. Megalopae samples from several light trap locations were sent to her for laboratory experiments.

  • Community Recognition and Connections - The PCRG was able to provide a short written update to the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program (PSEMP) annual update and the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association conference (October). Furthermore, we presented our Program Coordinator’s accomplishments to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission after a year as our Sea Grant Hershman Fellow. Additional presentations from group members also increased awareness about PCRG’s work.

  • Media - PCRG launched its website ( and twitter account (@PNWCrab), and created a video of the light trap protocol, to be shared with participating group partners. We also created the program logo.

  • Program Coordinator and Washington Sea Grant Fellow - This position changed hands in September from Angela Cruz (left) to Emily Buckner (right), both recent graduates of the UW’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.

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