After the first season closure for the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery in decades, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is seeking more data on how to rebuild the stock and stabilize the fishery.
The Bristol Bay red king crab fishery is historically one of the most valuable in the state, but for the last decade, the stock has been declining. Last fall, surveys showed that the female biomass of the stock had fallen below acceptable levels for harvest, and managers closed it. Stakeholders have been working with the council since to try to identify the best paths forward to rebuild the fishery and improve scientists’ understanding of how crab are moving and reproducing in the area.
At the April NPFMC meeting, the council members approved a motion to ask the industry to come back with a list of voluntary actions harvesters and other industry stakeholders can take to help reduce bycatch of Bristol Bay red king crab and reduce discard mortality in the directed fishery. Industry stakeholders include not just the directed harvesters in the red king crab fishery, but also reach to the Pacific cod sector, pollock, and Amendment 80 fleets, which impact red king crab stocks based on area and bycatch rates.
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