Board Of Fish Revisits Tanner Crab Strategy After Fishery's Controversial Closure

Apr 13, 2017

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has scheduled a special meeting in May to consider changing the harvest strategy for Bering Sea tanner crab.

The current strategy sparked controversy last year, when biologists were forced to cancel the $50 million commercial fishery after the bairdi population fell short of the opening threshold.

“It was agreeable to all parties that taking a look at this harvest management strategy would be a good idea -- and maybe changing it," said Glenn Haight, executive director for the Board of Fisheries.

Haight said board members have proposed changing four elements of the harvest strategy, including where the tanner stock is surveyed and how female biomass is calculated.

Those are significant factors that help decide whether crabbers can harvest bairdi each season.

“This doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to open the fishery up," said Height. "But they are taking a look at it anew.”

The Board of Fisheries is accepting public comment on the proposal until May 12. Board members will meet in Anchorage the following week to review testimony and vote on the harvest strategy.