Bering Sea Snow Crab Fishery Gets Partial Extension

fisheries managers at Dutch Harbor have announced a partial extension of the eastern
sub-district of the Bering Sea snow crab fishery through May 31.
this point, however, there is only one vessel on the grounds and it is uncertain
how many would return at this point if ice conditions diminish.
emergency order announced yesterday will allow waters of the eastern sub-district
between 171 degrees west longitude and 173 degrees west longitude to remain open
through May 31. Meanwhile, waters east of 171 degrees west longitude will close
at midnight on May 15.
sea ice coverage significantly reduced available fishing grounds throughout a large
portion of the snow crab season and as a result, nearly 25 percent of the snow crab
total allowable catch was not harvested through yesterday.
area management biologist Britta Baechler said about 77 percent of the allowable
harvest of snow crab, a total of 68.14 million pounds, had been taken. That included
62.6 million pounds of individual fishing quota and 5.54 million pounds allocated
to the community development quota fisheries.
total 2012 allocation from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is for more than
88 million pounds of snow crab, including 80 million pounds to the IFQ fishery and
8.9 million pounds to CDQ groups.
compares with last year’s total allowable catch of 54 million pounds, all of which
was harvested.
said that only one vessel was on the grounds in the second week of May, with the
rest of the snow crab boats at Dutch Harbor, Akutan and King Cove.
was uncertain whether those vessels planned to return to the grounds if ice conditions
receded before May 31.