SnowMap – Using innovation and science to put the Norwegian Snowcrab on the MAP as a sustainable and high quality product
The emerging snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) fishery in Norway presents the opportunity to craft a profitable, sustainable, and environmentally sound industry. The industry can be developed at all aspects of the snow crab value chain, combining cross-disciplinary knowledge to develop the value chain for its increasing market. Within the snow crab value chain, aspects such as catch efficiency, live holding and animal welfare, product quality, market development, and bio-economic consequence analysis can be developed to contribute to optimal solutions involving both economical and societal factors. In terms of improving catch efficiency, preliminary results show that the optimization of pot design may be achieved with the use of low powered white LED lights that exploit the natural attraction of crabs to sources of light to increase catch rates of pots. In addition, bait alternatives to expensive, food-grade squid will be explored, and preliminary results show that a combination of herring and squid (1:1) show comparable catch rates to squid alone. Advancing the welfare of live snow crab is essential to reduce the mortality of snow crab caught in order to obtain higher product value. Therefore, this project will aim to provide information relating to the environmental factors and technology required for keeping live crabs in good condition. In addition, this project will aim to implement a new system for the indication of the viability of crab based on behavioral, morphological, physiological and biochemical markers to improve live export of the crab. Each step of snow crab processing is complex, and this project will investigate the quality and yield of snow crab products, as well as the correct handling and disposal of crab by-products. In conclusion, there is a rising demand for snow crab, and so the development of a market orientated value chain is needed to secure a productive snow crab market.