Abstract Shifts in climate regime are prominent features of the physical environment of the eastern Bering Sea and in recent years have been documented in approximately 1977 and 1989. Average snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) recruitment
decreased sharply after the 1989 fertilization year. Models in which control of snow crab recruitment shifts between drivers dependent on climate ‘regime’ are presented. These models are evaluated using cross‐validation and retrospective analysis, both of which indicate
that the relationships are relatively robust to varying levels of information. Larval survival as influenced by food availability in the pelagic phase and advection to suitable nursery grounds are the hypothesized mechanisms driving recruitment dynamics.