Trawl bycatch by Bering Sea crab for 2022/23 = millions of pounds

"Cost accruals" dictate bycatch rates for Bering Sea trawlers; protecting the resource comes in second.

by | October 22, 2022

Filed Under Uncategorized

…While fishing by the crab fleet is closed

Snow crab and red king crab fisheries are off limits to the Alaska crab fleet for the 2022/23 season due to plummeting numbers for both stocks.

But the Seattle-based trawl sector plays by different rules.

Federal regulators and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council perceive bycatch management as presenting a choice in balancing “competing” requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standards.

NOAA and the NPFMC set bycatch limits high in part because they believe that trawl vessels must continue operating year-round even with high bycatch rates because “cost accrual on such large platforms would be unsustainable.”

Federal managers use a confusing mix of poundages and individual crab counts in setting the annual catches/bycatches, reminiscent of the phrase “dollars to donuts” – meaning “certainty or having an assurance about the possibility of something happening.”

Here are the “pre-approved” crab bycatch numbers for trawlers for the 2022/23 fishing season:

For Bristol Bay red king crab (closed to crabbers for the second year) – 26,445 crabs

For snow crab (closed to crabbers for the first time ever) – 3,623,201 crabs

For Bairdi Tanners, the crab fleet can take 2,013,000 crabs. The trawl bycatch take is 2,604,904 Tanners.

The pre-approved trawl bycatch numbers for 2022/2023 are down slightly from the 2021/2022 season.

For last season’s fishery, the trawl bycatch numbers were 5.99 snow crabs (nearly 8 million pounds; the crab fleet harvest was 5.6m pounds)

Red king crab: 80,160 individuals; (the fishery was closed to crabbers)

 Snow Crab: 5.99 million individuals

Bairdi Tanner Crab: 3.07 million individuals.

Tagged as: Bycatch, Crab, trawlers

About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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