Commercial harvesters of Bering Sea snow crab are allocated a total allowable catch of 40.611 million pounds of the succulent shellfish for the fishery running through May 2016, down from 67.950 million pounds a year earlier.
The announcement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Oct. 8 came on the eve of the season opener on Oct. 15, the same day as the opening of the Bristol Bay red king crab and Bering Sea tanner crab fisheries.
State fisheries biologists at Dutch Harbor allocated 36,549,900 pounds of snow crab to holders of individual fishing quota and 4,061,000 pounds to the state’s six community development quota groups. The total allowable catch is based on model-survey and area-swept abundance estimates.
For Bering Sea district waters west of 166 west longitude, in the eastern subdistrict, the snow crab fishery concludes on May 15, and for the western subdistrict, May 31.
Harvesters in the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery, which concludes on Jan. 15, will be allowed 9,974,000 pounds, compared to last year’s quota of 9,986,000 pounds.
Individual fishing quota holders are allowed a harvest totaling 8,976,600 pounds, with another 997,400 pounds to community development quota entities.
In the Bering Sea tanner crab fishery, which runs through March 31, the TAC west of 166 degrees longitude is set at 8,396,000 pounds, with 7,556,400 pounds for IFQ holders and 839,600 pounds for CDQ groups. East of 166 degrees west, the TAC is 11,272,000 pounds, with 10,144,800 pounds for IFQ holders and 1,127,200 pounds for the CDQ entities.
Harvesters of Saint Matthew Island section blue king crab, where the fishery concludes Feb. 1, are allocated 411,000 pounds, with 369,900 pounds for individual fishing quota holders and 41,100 pounds for the community development quota groups.