The Coral Reef Restoration Crab Hatchery Research Center focuses on raising Caribbean king crabs that eat marine algae and can help protect restored coral reefs from algae overgrowth. In short, these crabs are our allies in Mote’s longtime mission to restore depleted coral reefs.

Caribbean king crabs consume more algae than any species of parrotfish in the Caribbean and rival the consumption rates of urchins. Further, the crabs readily consume algae that are chemically defended and avoided by other grazers in the region.

This 6,000 square-foot hatchery facility cares for broodstock Caribbean king crabs with the long-term goal to produce hundreds of thousands of juvenile crabs each year. Once the baby crabs reach a releasable size— three to five months after hatching—they can be screened by a veterinarian and then be transported to Mote’s Summerland Key campuses for release onto coral restoration sites along Florida’s Coral Reef.