After a two-year closure due to insufficient stock levels for fishing, the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery in Alaska is scheduled to reopen at noon on October 15, 2023. The established quota for this reopening is 2.15 million pounds, slightly less than the 2.6 million pounds set in 2020.
Jamie Goen, executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, said members are happy to return to their work on the water. However, they are committed to ensuring minimal impact, aiming for the sustainability of the crab resource for future generations.
“They are tracking closely the science around the health of crab stocks and want to help crab continue to rebound,” she said. We’re adding extra measures this season during our directed pot fishery for crab to reduce our interactions with crab. We’re increasing communication with the fleet on best handling practices, clean fishing areas, and opportunities to share gear.”
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has established the total allowable catch (TAC) at 2.15 million pounds. This allocation includes 1,935,000 pounds for individuals with fishing quotas (IFQ) and 215,000 pounds for community development quotas (CDQ). The fishery is scheduled to close at midnight on January 15, 2024.
For vessels participating in the IFQ or CDQ fisheries, operators are required to inform the U.S. Coast Guard at least 24 hours in advance of their port arrival when carrying crab pot gear. This notification can be made by calling (907) 581-3466. In case of after-hours notification, the contact number is (907) 359-1575.
The Bering Sea tanner crab season also opens on October 15, 2023. Bering Sea snow crab, Saint Matthew Island section blue king crab, and Pribilof District red and blue king crab fisheries are to remain closed.