Bering Sea crab season opens tomorrow
Alaska’s Bering Sea commercial king and tanner crab fisheries open tomorrow, 15 October, and will remain open for the next three to six months, depending on the species.
According to the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) association, Bristol Bay red king crab season runs through 15 January 2015; St. Matthew’s blue king crab season runs through 1 February; and Bering Sea snow crab season ends 15 May in the Eastern sub-district and 31 May in the Western sub-district.
The total allowable catch (TAC) for all species will be up from the previous year. According to ABSC, the increased quotas are “testament to science-based, stakeholder-informed management.”
“While ABSC welcomes the increased quota for all major species, we remain concerned over the volume of illegal Russian crab that continues to flood the world market and depress the price paid to legal U.S. fishermen.”
ABSC added that in a statement that in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, the McDowell Group of Juneau, Alaska, estimates that 40 percent of the king crab sold in world markets was from illegal Russian harvests.
The TAC for Bristol Bay red king crab is 9.986 million pounds, a 16 percent increase over 2013; the IFQ portion of the quota is 8.987 million pounds.
The Bering Sea snow crab fishery quota is 67.950 million pounds, a 26 percent increase over 2013; the IFQ portion of the quota is 61.155 million pounds.
The Eastern Bering Sea tanner crab fishery TAC is 8.48 million pounds, a whopping 480 percent increase over 2013; the IFQ portion of the quota is 7.632 million pounds. The Western Bering Sea tanner crab fishery TAC is 6.625 million pounds, a 303 percent increase over 2013; the IFQ portion of the quota is 5.952 million pounds.
Lastly, St. Matthew’s blue king crab fishery TAC is 655,000 pounds, 589,500 pounds for the IFQ harvest. The fishery was closed last year.