Megalop Volunteer Network
The Problem


The Dungeness crab population in Hood Canal is in steep decline. Harvest has fallen from 698,000 pounds in 2005, to just 168,000 pounds in 2008. No one knows why.

Project Purpose


To identify the origin of Dungeness crab larvae in Hood Canal through creating a network of crab larvae (megalops) observers. Dungeness crab megalops larvae drift for up to six months before they settle to the shore and transform to juvenile crabs. Megalops in Hood Canal may drift in from as far away as the Pacific Ocean or they may come from within Hood Canal. The size of the individuals in each wave of settlement and the settlement timing in each location, will give us clues to their source. Finding their source is key to unlocking the cause of the decline in adult crabs, and will guide management actions for their recovery.

Megalops Collecter
How collectors work


Since megalops larvae cling to anything in their path, collection is easy. The collector (a mesh bag with three Tuffy kitchen scrubbers) is hung from a dock or buoy and is checked once a week. The megalops, (and any other larvae) are then rinsed off and frozen to be measured later. Megalops Collectors' Instructions page

What We Need Volunteer Researchers To Do


People living near a beach or dock are already ideally located to conduct this research. We will supply a complete collection kit so the volunteers will just need to deploy them from docks, floats or beaches and check them at least once a week.

Who We Are


Tribal and State shellfish managers, non-governmental groups and volunteers. All with the common goal of working toward a long term sustainable crab fishery. For more information, contact Paul Williams pwilliams(at) or check out the Megalops Collectors Message Board.