October 17, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – No Tanner crab fishery next year at Kodiak and the Westward regions. More after this —
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There will be no January Tanner crab fishery for fishermen at Kodiak, Chignik and the South Peninsula.
It’s not unexpected. We’ve been seeing a decline in abundance of legal sized or mature male Tanner crab for the last couple of years.
Mike Stichert is a shellfish biologist at ADF&G in Kodiak. He says the Tanner stocks have seemed to follow an up and down pattern since the late 1990s.
Beginning in 2006/2007 we saw large recruitment of juvenile Tanner crab, and those crab subsequently matured into the population and into the commercial fishery beginning in 2009, 2010 and 2011 we had a couple of pretty large years so now those crab are aging out of the population. And that’s what has led the decline and resulted in closures for next year.
Last season up to 40 Kodiak boats dropped pots for Tanners and 25 at the Peninsula. Chignik was closed. Looking ahead, Stichert says there is a mix of good news and bad news.
The bad news is we aren’t seeing any kind of continued recruitment in the near future for legal sized male crab. However, during the 2013 survey we just wrapped up we did observe a fairly large pulse of juvenile crab in all three areas. So the good news is the total number of crab in the water seems to be well above average, in fact it seems to be one of the larger sizes of recruitment of juvenile crab we have seen in 10 or 15 years.
Those crab are two to three years out from a fishery and lots can happen between now and then.
The Tanner fishery typically means a nice shot in the arm in mid-January worth several million dollars Kodiak’s resident processing workforce will also feel the pinch of no crab coming into town.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.