Good News, Bad News for Alaskan Crab Fisheries This Season

Created on Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The 2011 Bristol Bay red king crab season is set to open at 12:00 noon next Saturday October 15th. The Alaska Department of Fish And Game announced the status of the Bristol Bay red king crab stock early this week and as many expected the number is down for the 2011 season. What was not anticipated however was the quota to be cut by nearly half, from 14.84 million pounds to 7.834 which based on a 2010 ex vessel price of USD 7 per pound equates to a USD 50 million loss in revenue for fishermen.

kingcrabThis quota is reported to be the lowest since 1988 and the largest year to year cut in over a decade. Fishermen are reacting with disappointment but also with an understanding that in order to have a sustainable fishery into the future it is necessary to allow for the stocks to rebuild.

On the up side the Bering Sea snow crab quota was also announced this week. Based on the reported healthy snow crab population the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Marine Fisheries Service increased the 2011 snow crab quote from the 2010 season by over 60 percent from 54.281 to 88.9 million pounds.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been known to manage their fisheries responsibly and sustainably, which bodes confidence that these regulations will help to rebuild the red king crab numbers as well as keep snow crab populations healthy.