October 9, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – A big bump for Bristol Bay king crab; not so for Southeast. Crab numbers and more after this —
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The harvest for Alaska’s red king crab got a 16 percent boost this season to 10 million pounds. That’s due to an increase in the mature crab biomass in Bristol Bay, which is up 4 percent from 2013.
The biggest Bering Sea crab surprise is the whopping increase for bairdi Tanners, the larger cousin of opilio, or snow crab. The Tanner catch tops 15 million pounds, the largest in 20 years. That compares to about a million and a half pounds last year. The Tanner fishery has undergone long closures to rebuild the stocks over the past 20 years.
No word yet on the catch quota Alaska’s largest crab fishery: Bering Sea snow crab.
Far off St. Matthew Island also is reopening for a small blue king crab fishery with a catch of 655,000 pounds. That fishery has been closed for two years.
Remaining closed will be Southeast Alaska’s red and blue king crab fishery. Biologists say the stock is at the lowest levels in more than two decades. A small fishery opened in 2011 after being closed for six years.
Catch numbers for next year’s groundfish fisheries will be revealed during the North Pacific Council Meeting now through October 15 at the Anchorage Hilton. It’s a given that Alaska’s pollock fishery will remain at about three billion pounds since the stocks appear to be at the highest levels since 1982. The Council will make its decision on catches for Gulf and Bering Sea codfish, flatfish, perch, sablefish, mackerel and more in December.
The state Board of Fisheries begins its annual meeting cycle next Wednesday at a two day work session in Juneau. Fisheries at Prince William Sound, Upper Copper River and the Upper Susitna are the regions of focus this year, but things could get sidelined by 27 out of cycle agenda changes being proposed by various stakeholders, mostly from Cook Inlet.
All of the meetings are live on line. Find links at www.alaskafishradio.com (Fish links)
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch. www.oceanbeauty.com