NOAA seeks public comment on red king crab savings area

NOAA Fisheries will continue to take public comment through Dec. 5 on a proposal from Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) for an emergency action to close the red king crab savings area and subarea to all fishing gear that comes in contact with the ocean bottom.

Should this requested closure be implemented, it would include pelagic trawl, pot gear, and longline gear and would be in effect for 180 days after the emergency rule is published.

The request for the emergency closure was made by ABSC on Sept. 29.

Existing regulations already prohibit non-pelagic trawl gear from fishing in the red king crab savings area year-round and the red king crab savings subarea when Bristol Bay red king crab is not open to directed fishing.

NOAA Fisheries is currently working with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to provide feedback to NOAA at the council’s December meeting in Anchorage.

NOAA Fisheries is going to make a determination on the petition after considering public comments from this notice and public comments received during the council’s December meeting.

Comments, identified by Docket ID NOAA-NMFS-2022-0111, may be submitted electronically via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal (search for NOAA-NMFS-2022-0111. And look for the Comment icon) or mailed to Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.