Alaska Cancels Bering Sea King, Snow Crab Seasons Over Population Collapse

"Alaska officials have canceled the fall Bristol Bay red king crab harvest, and in a first-ever move, also scuttled the winter harvest of smaller snow crab.

The move is a double whammy to a fleet of about 60 vessels from Alaska, Washington and Oregon pursuing Bering Sea crab in harvests that as recently as 2016 grossed $280 million. Each boat typically employs six to seven people.

“I am struggling for words. This is so unbelievable that this is happening,” said Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. “We have third-generation fishermen who are going to go out of business.”

The closures reflect conservation concerns about both crab species in the aftermath of bleak summer population surveys. The tough decisions to shut down the snow crab and fall king crab harvests came after days of discussions by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists and senior agency officials who faced crabbers’ pleas for at least small fisheries."

Hal Bernton reports for the Seattle Times October 11, 2022.

Source: Seattle Times, 10/12/2022