Impacts of Power Cables on Crab Harvest

Splash page image of a crab in a crab trap.

Several commercial crab species are found in the immediate vicinity of existing subsea power cables on the Pacific coast of North America. A concern raised by fishermen is that crabs may not cross over energized cables to enter baited traps, thus potentially reducing their catch. We conducted experiments on how energized cables off southern California and in Puget Sound, cables identical to those used in offshore renewable energy sites, might effect the harvesting of rock crab (Cancer productus) and Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister). We found no evidence from the results that the EMF emitted by energized submarine power cables influenced the catchability of these two species of commercially important crabs. In addition, there was no difference in the crabs’ responses to the energized cable shallowly buried or exposed on the seabed.

Study collaboration and funding were provided by the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Environmental Studies Program, Washington, DC, under Cooperative Agreement Number M14AC00027.

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Database Changelog:

  • 04-06-2018
    Initial data posted.