Fish Radio
May 31, 2013                Golden king crab could soon top reds

Golden king crab Credit: afsc.noaa.gov

Golden king crab
Credit: afsc.noaa.gov

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … A science project by Aleutian Island crabbers yields great results. More after this

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 Research by crabbers and biologists shows that golden king crab stocks around the Aleutian Islands are not only stable, they are thriving.  Unlike other Bering Sea crab stocks, surveys on golden kings have been limited due to distance and high costs. While the stocks have sustained a fishery for 30 years, managers aren’t really sure what’s going on down there.

Cut: The fleet has over the years changed the mesh size to allow little crabs sort themselves out on the grounds, and so they don’t pull as many sub-legal or female crabs to the surface. that’s great fishing practice but unfortunately it is not great scientific information. ADFG has been concerned as to whether their is any recruitment of small crab into the population.  3

Denby Lloyd is science advisor for the Aleutian King Crab Research Foundation, formed by the harvesting vessels.

Cut: So this experiment was to put down small mesh pots, specifically designed to not let the little ones go, put them down in the string of regular commercial gear during the fishery, and see if we could tell the difference. 4

The results?   

Cut: The results were very clear. Regular pots caught good numbers of legal crab but not many sub legals. But the paired research pots right next to them caught as many  or more legal crab and very large numbers of sub legal crab. 6

Lloyd says research will be ongoing and fishery managers will use the data in stock assessment modeling.   The end result could be lifting the fixed six million pound cap for goldens. 

  Cut: With this level of productivbity,  potentially those quotas will raise for golden king crab and therefore we might be in competition with Bristol Bay for the largest king crab harvest. 

Aleutian Island crabbers also are helping with ocean acidification and handling studies. Lloyd had high praise for the collaboration.

Cut:  This is fun, it’s cool stuff.  Having the industry be this enthusiastic and having the agencies open up to immediate cooperative research opportunities  like this, it’s really neat. 8

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com      In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

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