An analysis of survey data has prompted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to continue closure of three commercial Tanner crab fisheries in 2021.
ADF&G announced its decision on Tanner crab fisheries in Kodiak, Chignik and South Alaska Peninsula districts during the past week, based on completion of the analysis of 2020 Tanner crab surveys. Fisheries in these districts may occur only when they meet estimated abundance of mature male Tanner crab meets or exceeds abundance thresholds and minimum guideline harvest levels.
No decision has been made yet on whether there will be a Tanner crab fishery in 2021 in Prince William Sound.
For Kodiak the mature male abundance thresholds are established in six sections and a minimum of two sections must meet or exceed those requirements. Those sections that meet the criteria must also be sufficient to provide for a GHL of at least 100,000 pounds per section and at least 400,000 pounds total for the entire district. While the Southeast and southwest sections did exceed necessary thresholds for the 2021 season, ADF&G said the fishery would remain closed due to the high exploitation rate on legal males needed to achieve that 400,000 pound district minimum GHL and the potential for high bycatch mortality on sublegal male Tanner crab that may recruit to legal size in the next one to two years.
In the Chignik District, analysis showed that while the district exceeded abundance thresholds, it was below the minimum GHL threshold.
Requirements for the South Peninsula district dictate that before either the eastern or western sections could open for commercial fishing that abundance had to provide for a minimum GHL of 200,000 pounds. With the eastern section below thresholds and the western section exceeding the abundance threshold, but below the minimum GHL threshold, the South Peninsula district also remained closed.