Alaska’s Board of Fisheries will meet in Anchorage, Alaska, March 8–11, to discuss statewide king and tanner crab issues. The board will only address Tanner crab for Southeast and Yakutat, and Prince William Sound areas.
There are 37 proposals on the agenda, including one from Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU) calling for a commercial king crab fishery for the northern and western districts of Prince William Sound. The proposal notes that the golden king crab fisher in area E has been closed for over 30 years and that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has not conducted a survey to assess stocks since 2006. Fishermen participating in the Sound’s Tanner crab fishery are reporting extremely high levels of king crab abundance yet are not able to retain any under the current commissioner’s permit. A second CDFU proposal would create commissioner’s permits for any king crab fishery in Area E.
Among the shellfish proposals for Cook Inlet is one from ADF&G, that would establish an annual limit for Tanner crab sport fisheries. ADF&G officials said the preliminary harvest from the 2017–2018 sport fishery was 8,263 Tanner crab, which was sustainable, but higher than the department anticipated. According to ADF&G 90 percent of participants harvested fewer than 20 crabs for the season and the remaining 10 percent of participants harvested 49 percent of the total crab harvested. An annual limit would effectively restrict the harvest to a modest level while providing an equal harvest opportunity among users, the agency said.
A complete list of all proposals for the crab fisheries meeting is available online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=03-08-2020&meeting=anchorage#,fixed,,2,,6,,3,,9,,10,,12,
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