Alaska golden king crab concerns prompt quota cut
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has cut back on the total allowable catch (TAC) for golden king crab caught near to the western Aleutian Islands after the stock’s abundance was called into question by a department biologist.
The TAC for western Aleutians golden king crab has been reduced by 25 percent to 2.2 million pounds in advance of the new season, which begins next week, after abundance indicators suggested that the stock was struggling, reported KUCB.
"There's a 25 percent reduction in the TAC for the western stock this year based on declines in several stock abundance indicators," said Ethan Nichols, the assistant area management biologist for Fish and Game, to KUCB. "We're not exactly sure what's going on, but for the last two seasons, the TAC has not been achieved."
The shortfall comes after a decade of stable harvests, explained Nichols, which is part of what makes it a cause for concern, Nichols said.
"It is a big deal," he said. "We've had a lot of concern from the golden king crab industry. But based on those stock abundance indicators, we are taking a conservative approach."
Meanwhile, golden king crab stocks for the eastern fishery continue to perform above average, yielding a substantial catch for the past two seasons. The TAC for that region will remain at 3.3 million pounds in 2016.
"We're not completely sure why things seems to be going better in the east as opposed to the west," Nichols concluded.