Captains and Crew are gathering back in Dutch Harbor, Alaska for the opilio, “snow crab” season, which generally starts up after the new year. The 25 percent cut in total quota should speed up the season. Last year, boats were challenged by floating ice, creating the longest snow crab season in history. Arctic Ice may play a huge factor in this season’s harvest, too. The Arctic huge melt equals tons more floating ice in the southern fishing grounds. Stay tuned for more updates as this season on the Bering Sea continues…
January will also mark the start of the Bering Sea snow crab and Kodiak tanner crab fisheries.
The 2013 total allowable catch, or TAC, for Bering Sea snow crab was set at 66.35 million pounds, a 25 percent cut compared to nearly 89 million pounds in 2012.
The snow crab harvest cut comes from a decrease in the mature male biomass (females may not be retained), and a change in the stock’s age composition. The crab are much older than in the past — about 60 percent of the mature male biomass is old shell crab — compared to about 37 percent last year.
Fishing quota holders will be able to harvest 59.7 million pounds, while community development quota programs will take the remaining 6.6 million pounds.
Kodiak tanner crab will be harvested from the eastside and southeast sections, for a total of 660,000 pounds.
via Mixed outlook for fish stocks, new regs | Peninsula Clarion.