Tanner crab season canceled in Alaska
The Alaska Board of Fisheries has decided to cancel this year’s Tanner crab season after low population numbers were estimated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The Tanner crab, or bairdi crab, fishery is worth an estimated USD 50 million (EUR 46.7 million) annually to Alaska fishermen, but ADFG biologists warned of a record-low count of females, upon which its biomass estimate is based. Its count came up two million pounds short of the recommendations for opening the season, and a proposal that would have let crabbers harvest 10 percent of mature male bairdi in the western district failed after the vote split 3-3, according to KUCB.
The radio station reported that the crab industry and the cities of Unalaska and St. Paul questioned the accuracy of the population survey as well as the conservative management strategy, especially since the fishery supported strong harvests each of the past two seasons.
The board will discuss its plan for next season, as well as criticisms of its decision-making process, at a meeting in the spring, KUCB reported.