Crab plan team to study latest survey data

Eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey results will be the focus of discussion Sept. 16-20 in Seattle by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s crab plan team, which will set the overfishing level and acceptable biological catch for these fisheries.

The actual quotas on Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab fisheries will be set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The draft report on the area’s continental shelf trawl survey, released in early September by NOAA Fisheries crab biologists at Kodiak, compiles results of samples taken on the shelf from June 2 through July 28.

The draft report notes that the overall biomass and abundance of Bristol Bay red king crab remains about the same, but with a decline in legal male crab.

The number of mature and legal red king crab males in the Pribilof Islands rose, while females and immature males declined and remained about the same, the report said.

Both red king crab populations increased in pre-recruit abundance. There was an overall increase in blue king crab biomass and abundance, except for Pribilof Islands immature females, since none were caught in the survey.

Biomass and abundance of Tanner crab declined for legal and mature males. Numbers of female and immature males remained about the same, except for the biomass of immature males east of 166 degrees west, which increased.

The report also noted an overall increase in legal mature and pre-recruit male snow crab, while numbers of immature males and all females declined.

The crab plan team meeting at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is open to the public and audio of the meeting is available by dialing in to 1-877-953-3912.   The passcode is 2523402.

Additional information on the crab plan team and the Seattle meeting is online at https://www.npfmc.org/fishery-management-plan-team/bsai-crab-plan-team/