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Crab fishing


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Crab fishing

  1. 1. Focus on Bristol Bay Red King Crab and Bering Sea Snow Crab
  2. 2. Citation Fitch, H., M. Schwenzfeier, B. Baechler, T. Hartill, M. Salmon, M. Deiman, E. Evans, E. Henry, L. Wald, J. Shaishnikoff, K. Herring, and J. Wilson. 2012. Annual management report for the commercial and subsistence shellfish fisheries of the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea and the Westward Region’s shellfish observer program, 2010/11. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fishery Management Report No. 1222, Anchorage.
  3. 3. Bristol Bay Red King Crab History BBRKC First harvest 1930 Japanese Fleet in Eastern Bering Sea (EBS) Break in fishing by Japanese from 1940-1953 Japanese fleet 1953-1974 Russian fleet 1959-1971
  4. 4. BBRKC History• U.S. trawl fleet began fishing in 1947• Low harvest in late 50s• No U.S. harvest reported in 1959• Participation increased from 1966-1980• Does not mention if trawl or pot fishing
  5. 5. BBRKC History 1980 Board of Fisheries (BOF) defines Bristol Bay Crab fishery area, area T Makes area T exclusive Exclusive area limits ability to participate in other areas 1980 record king crab harvest 129.9 million pounds
  6. 6. BBRKC History• 1981 BBRKC stocks “decline sharply”• Fishery closed in 1983, 1994 and 1995• Participation increases again from 1984• 89 vessels fishing approximately 22,000 pots• 1991 -- 300 vessels fishing 90,000 pots• 1988 onboard observer program instituted for catcher processors and floating processors
  7. 7. BBRKC History• 1992 BOF institutes 250 pot limit per vessel• National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) suspends pot limit due to inconsistencies• 1993 vessels greater than 125 feet allowed 250 pots• Vessels 125 feet or less in length allowed 200 pots.• 1993 I work as observer on Northern Enterprise catcher processor
  8. 8. Crab Rationalization• 2005/2006 season was first with Crab rationalization (CR)• CR divided harvest into shares for boat owners and boat captains• Also guaranteed processors a processing share• The three pie system• Shares are transferrable
  9. 9. What I remember• I worked as an observer for the 1993 Red King Crab season in Bristol Bay• I was on Northern Enterprise the catcher processor• It was an Olympic style fishery• Catch as much as you can as fast as you can
  10. 10. 1993• As an observer I measured crab for biological measurement and legal measurement• I identified and enumerated by-catch• Count, measure and identify ever thing in six pots per day• Report harvest to Dutch Harbor by coded radio message daily
  11. 11. 1993 Given code to describe treatment by crew Season lasted about 7 days
  12. 12. How it worked• Boat leaves Dutch Harbor to fishing grounds• Bait and set pots• Pots set individually in strings• As opposed to long-lined• Pots fished in 30-60 fathoms• Pots soaked for hours then retrieved• If fishing good pots returned otherwise stacked and moved
  13. 13. How it worked• Crab dumped from pot to sorting table• Legal crab kept small or female crab returned to water.• Legal crab sent to processing hopper• Processing crew butchers and brushes crab• Packs into cooking crates• Cooks, cools, chills, glazes, boxes and freezes
  14. 14. Snow Crab History• Started in 1977 harvest incidental in bairdi fishery• Harvest was modest through 1985• Harvest increased until 1991 peak of 328.6 million pounds• Harvest decreased dramatically to 65.7 million pounds by 1996
  15. 15. Snow Crab History• Harvest average 163.6 million pounds between 1997 and 1999• In 2000 BOF adopted a stepped harvest rate• 2005 the first season under crab rationalization