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Alaska King, Snow Crab Fishing Opens in Bristol Bay, the Bering Sea

17 October 2012

US - The State of Alaska has officially opened the 2012/2013 harvest season for Bristol Bay red king crab, St. Matthew Island blue king crab, and Bering Sea snow crab, three legendary and sought-after varieties of seafood.

Together, the Bering Sea snow crab and Bristol Bay red king crab fisheries typically account for over 75 per cent of Alaska’s crab harvest (in ex-vessel value terms).

The 2012/2013 Total Allowable Catches (TACs), which are established yearly for each species to maintain maximum sustained yield and continued abundance, reflect the state’s commitment to responsible fisheries management and the willingness of Alaska’s managers to adjust their catch to align with the best scientific data available.

  • The 2012/2013 TAC for Bristol Bay red king crab is set at over 7.8 million pounds, almost identical to the 2011/2012 season.
  • The 2012/2013 TAC for St. Matthew Island blue king crab is set at over 1.6 million pounds, representing a 31 per cent decrease from the 2011/2012 season.
  • The 2012/2013 TAC for Bering Sea snow (opilio) crab is set at over 66 million pounds, representing a 25 per cent decrease from the 2011/2012 season.

Smaller Alaska crab fisheries include Aleutian Island golden king crab, which opened on 15 August with a TAC of 6.29 million pounds, and Norton Sound red king crab, which ran from 29 June to 8 September and had a total harvest of 475,990 pounds.

Alaska crab stocks are jointly managed by state and federal organizations: the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) oversees conservation and management, while the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) superintends allocation and policy.

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