Bristol Bay red king crab quota caught

The Bristol Bay red king crab season finished up last week when the entire allowable catch was harvested.

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“The Bristol Bay Red King Crab fishery went fairly well,”  Miranda Westphal said. Westphal is the area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Dutch Harbor. “A little slower than we would like to have seen, but they wrapped up with a total catch of 6.59 million pounds. So they caught all of the catch that was available for the season.”

Before the season opened on October 15, ADF&G and the National Marine Fisheries Service completed an analysis of the 2017 NMFS trawl survey results for Bristol Bay red king crab.

“From what we saw during the fishery was that the fishermen were seeing about what we expected from the survey, with a little bit slower fishing and with pockets of crab without a real wide distribution for the stock. So it was about as we expected,” Westphal said.

Bering Sea tanner and snow crab fisheries are still underway, but Westphal said that those fisheries have slowed for the holidays.

“We’ve got a few vessels participating in Western Bering Sea tanner. There’s approximately 1.1 million pounds have been landed so far,” Westphal said. “Most of the folks are taking a break for the holidays and will be back to fish Bering Sea tanner and Bering Sea snow crab. So right now it’s just a little bit of lull in the action while everyone takes a break for the holidays,”

Westphal expects the action in those fisheries to pick up in January.

The Western Bering Sea tanner fishery will remain open until March 31 with a total allowable catch of 2.5 million pounds and the Bering Sea snow crab season is open until March. The Bering Sea snow crab fishery has a total allowable catch of about 19 million pounds. The Eastern Subdistrict closes May 15. The Western Subdistrict closes May 31.

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