fisheries

Daher Jorge

The Bering Sea b​airdi crab fishery stayed closed this year for the fi​rst time in four seasons.

State biologists decided there were too fe​w crab to harvest safely, but fishermen are questi​oning that call. They say they saw plentiful bairdi while crabbing for other species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

There will be no commercial tanner crab fishery in the Bering Sea this season.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries made the decision last week after a last-ditch attempt to allow a limited harvest failed in a split 3-3 vote.

Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty attended the board meeting in Kodiak, where members considered a proposal that would have let crabbers harvest 10 percent of mature male bairdi in the western district.

Celeste Leroux/Alaska Sea Grant

 

The last commercial harvest of Pribilof Island blue king crab was in 1999. Extremely low population numbers have kept that fishery closed.

“They’re almost like unicorns in the trawl survey now,” said Lauren Divine, co-director of St. Paul’s Environmental Conservation Office. “There are very, very, very few being found. When you find one it’s kind of unreal. It’s kind of surreal. ”

Courtesy NOAA Fisheries

Alaska’s endangered Steller sea lion population continues its precipitous decline. The 2016 survey by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows an overall increase in the number of Steller sea lions across Alaska, but a mysterious drop in parts of the western stock.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

Unalaska's Fish and Game Advisory Committee will support a proposal to allow a limited tanner crab fishery in the Bering Sea this season.

The committee endorsed the proposal at a meeting Wednesday night, but only after a close 6-4 vote.

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