The main reason behind the halting was overfishing in the area. (Representational Image)
The Alaska snow crab harvest has been halted for the first time in history, following the disappearance of billions of crustaceans from the Bering Sea's icy, hazardous waters in recent years. According to a report in CNN, a declaration was made by the Alaska Board of Fisheries and the North Pacific Harvest Management Council last week that the population of snow crabs in the Bering Sea has declined below the regulation limit for reopening the fishery.
The population estimates for these animals following their fall have become startling, the outlet further said.
Benjamin Daly, a researcher with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told CNN, "The snow crab population has decreased from roughly 8 billion in 2018 to 1 billion in 2021."
"Snow crab is by far the most abundant of all the Bering Sea crab species that are caught commercially. So, the shock and awe of many billions missing from the population is worth noting - and that includes all the females and babies," Mr Daly added further.
The agencies also stopped the Bristol Bay Red King Crab Harvest for the second year in a row.
The authorities said that the main reason behind the halting was overfishing in the area. Mark Stichert, the groundfish and shellfish fisheries management coordinator at the state's fish and wildlife department stated that more crabs are being pulled out of the oceans than can be restored naturally.
In an estimation conducted in the surveys in the years 2021 and 2022, the population of adult male snow crabs declined by about 40% with approximate 45 million pounds remaining in the Bering Sea.
"It's a scary number, just to be clear," Mr Stichert further said.
According to Michael Litzow, the Kodiak lab director for NOAA Fisheries, snow crabs are cold-water species that live in places with water temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius and the water near Alaska is increasingly unsuitable for the species as it warms and sea ice melts.