Carter Braxton Dew, a former NOAA fisheries biologist who worked for the agency for 25 years, agreed that climate change probably isn’t solely responsible for the snow crab’s disappearance.
“During the past few years, as the numbers of some major Bering Sea crab stocks have approached the vanishing point, climate change and ocean warming have received most of the blame in the news media,” Dew told Mongabay in an emailed statement. “Overfishing and trawl bycatch have gotten relatively little attention.”
In 2021, Dew filed a formal complaint against NOAA via Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an organization that supports whistleblowers who call attention to illegal or improper government actions. The complaint argued that “suspect” data had led to exaggerated annual population estimates of red king crab in Bristol Bay, which resulted in overfishing and the eventual collapse of the population.