Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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Underwater Video Camera
A programmable underwater video camera was purchased by ADF&G's shellfish research program in 1998 for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the behavior of crabs in and around crab pots and to observe the effectiveness of escape mechanisms in pots. The department also hopes to collect time lapsed videos of the interaction of legal, sublegal and female red king crabs that are captured in standardized crab pots under different soak times scenarios. A color camera was recently purchased and utilized this winter during the commercial C. opilio fishery to obtain videos for a special to be aired this summer on the Discovery channel. The camera has already given us new insights into the behavior of red king and Tanner crabs entering pots. The National Marine Fisheries Service has recently requested use of the camera for observing hatching Tanner crabs. Other projects are currently in the works.
The camera is run by a 100 lb battery that lasts 2-4 hours depending on water temperature and light use, and it can be programmed to come on and turn off up to 186 times. Observations of crab behavior inside a pot over time enlighten researchers and fishermen alike on fishing methods and gear designs that maximize the catch of retainable crab while minimizing bycatch.