February 3, 2023

Pinoy Trekker

Pinoy Trekker – We go anywhere

No Alaskan King or Snow Crab will be harvested this year

A United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in August 2021 states that if global warming continues to spiral out of control, heat waves, hurricanes and other extreme weather events are likely to worsen.

One of the environmental effects is the warming of ocean waters, which in turn has affected cold-water species. One of these species are crabs. For the first time in history, Alaska has canceled the fall and winter harvest of snow crab,2 prompted by population declines.

The UN climate panel writes that humans are “clearly” responsible for climate destruction and that swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can help limit some of the consequences, but many of these changes are irreversible. The UN Secretary General described the report as “Code Red for Humanity”.4

Global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial average. The report warned that without swift and large-scale action, temperatures will hit a 1.5C threshold within 20 years. It is widely believed that this surge is higher than most of humanity could endure, as it would trigger enough catastrophic weather that Reuters reports in some regions of the world “people could die just from going outside”.

With scientific data showing that the environment of crabs is deteriorating, Mordor Intelligence5 estimates that the crab market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% from 2022 to 2027. In the report summary, the authors mention supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, trade and labor disputes, and delayed aquaculture stocks are having negative impacts on the shrimp industry, but make no mention of ocean warming.

Cold-adapted species on the decline

What was once an extremely lucrative industry is suddenly facing massive losses and possible industry extinction. Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game, for the first time in history, canceled the snow crab and king crab harvest for the fall and winter of 2022 after realizing that only 23% of the snow crab population remained and a significant loss of adult female king crabs.6

According to CBS News KREM7, Alaskan fisheries produce 60% of the nation’s seafood and the Alaskan crab industry is worth $200 million. In 2018, the snow crab population was 8 billion, but just three years later, the population showed a sharp decline to just 1 billion.8

In contrast, in 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2018 was a standout year in the seafood sector, including lobster, crab, salmon and scallops. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a NOAA press release:9

“America’s fishermen and fishing industry underpin our strong blue economy. Our fisheries are among the most sustainable in the world, supporting thousands of jobs, generating billions in revenue and providing high-protein options for the dinner table. Consumers can rest assured that US seafood is the global sustainability gold standard.”

Fishermen and scientists are struggling to understand why the crab population declined so rapidly only a short time later, despite its ‘gold standard’ sustainability moniker. As reported by CBS KREM News, researchers are studying the potential that widespread diseases have affected the population, while fishermen wonder if the crab may have moved further north across the border into Russia in search of colder water.

The ongoing toll that climate change has taken on the crab industry has led crabs to fear an unprecedented collapse of the industry. NOAA Fisheries10 has stated that the likely declines in king and snow crabs were the result of climate change, but crabs believe inaccurate data may have influenced this as well.

Maggie Mooney-Seuss, communications program manager at NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, defended the agency’s management process, saying the dramatic decline in snow crabs is likely related to the 2019 heatwave. “This heat wave, as well as previous heat waves, have been attributed to climate change,” she said

Alaska is the fastest warming state in the country

The oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface and have a large capacity to absorb heat.12 According to data from NOAA13, the rising load of greenhouse gases is not venting into space as freely as it used to be. Much of this heat is absorbed by the ocean, which has significantly increased upper ocean temperature measurements.

Global ocean measurements have been consistently above average since the mid-1990s. Robert Foy, Ph.D., is the director of science and research at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. The Seattle Times14 reports that NOAA is using his research to develop a possible timeline to map king crab population collapses. However, Jeremy Mathis, an oceanographer for NOAA, spoke to a Seattle Times reporter and said:

“Bob [Foy] raised these crabs in conditions that we thought would be in the future. And what we actually found is that at certain times of the year the conditions near the bottom of the Bering Sea were actually worse than the conditions where Bob raised his crabs.”

Another Alaska Department of Fish and Game researcher told CBS KREM News:15 “Environmental conditions are changing rapidly, we’ve seen some warm conditions in the Bering Sea in recent years and we’re seeing a response in cold-adapted species.” So it’s pretty obvious that it’s all connected.”

Alaska loses billions of tons of ice each year, which is critical for cold-adapted species that need cold water to survive. Temperatures have warmed more in Alaska than anywhere else on earth.16 This has affected the oceans and people’s lives on land.

Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city and was built on permafrost, which is permanently frozen ground. However, rising temperatures have degraded permafrost and threatened public infrastructure, including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.17

Temperatures have changed so drastically that NOAA officially downgraded the city’s subarctic designation to “warm summer continental” in 2021.18 Ancient ice that used to cover 85% of the state is thawing, leaving sinkholes and changing how and where people can live. The key message from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information is that climate models project that Arctic waters will be ice-free by late summer before 2050

Geoengineering climate control

Scientists are using large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s climate, also known as geoengineering, to alter the effects of global warming. Reuters reports20 that the United Nations is currently considering a controversial form of geoengineering that would involve spraying sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere with unknown and potentially catastrophic effects.

Sulfate aerosols are tiny reflective particles. They reflect sunlight back into space when sprayed 12 to 16 miles above Earth’s surface. This may lead to lower global temperatures and also reduce average rainfall, which will have a significant impact on food production. Additionally, this geoengineering technique could affect different regions far more drastically than others.

The IPCC report mentions solar radiation management as a form of geoengineering. Report author Govindasamy Bala, of the Indian Institute of Science, said “the science is there” to use geoengineering, but it’s far from exact. “I think the next big question,” Bala told Reuters, “is do you want to do it? … That includes uncertainty, moral issues, ethical issues and governance.”

However, it should be noted that some forms of geoengineering are already in use. Cloud seeding is an example that has been used for decades21 and involves “seeding” clouds with silver iodide, or solid carbon dioxide, to promote rain and snow or to weaken tropical storms.22 At least eight western US states and dozens of countries have cloud Seeding used to improve precipitation.

In 202223 it was revealed that the Spanish government had authorized the military to spray chemicals in the sky as part of the defense against COVID-19 in a population-wide medical experiment at the behest of the UN. This isn’t the first time Spain has sprayed chemtrails across the country.

In 2015, four whistleblowers from the country’s weather agency told the European Parliament that the chemicals were being regularly sprayed across the country in a bid to alter the climate.24

Cloud seeding, geoengineering and social control

Bill Gates also invests heavily in geoengineering techniques. In 201025 he funded research to develop machines that would spray seawater into the clouds to reduce global warming. The move sparked a call for a global ban on geoengineering experiments. Gates has also funded lobbying by climate scientists to advance geoengineering to manipulate the global climate.

While scientists argue that this is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change, critics point out that the technology can also be used as a weapon or to advance wealthy societies at the expense of poor countries. In 2018,26 Gates again agreed to fund geoengineering experiments for Harvard scientists who proposed spraying the stratosphere with calcium chloride to slow the Earth’s warming by shielding the sun.

Gates continues to invest heavily in climate change technologies that not only destabilize the climate system, but can also be used against humans by controlling precipitation and drought. One of Gates’ long-term goals appears to be mastering control of global agriculture and food production.27 He is currently the largest farmland owner in the US and uniquely positioned to benefit greatly from the judicious use of geoengineering practices.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote in The Defender:28 “For a man obsessed with monopoly control, the opportunity to also control food production must seem irresistible.”

The risks of large-scale geoengineering are immense. Even Christopher Field, chairman of the National Academy’s Solar Geoengineering Committee, who said he supports more research into solar radiation management, told Yale Climate Connections, “If you can’t tell if a bomb works or not until you see it detonate, that’s a really good reason not to build the bomb.”29