Alaska snow crab harvest slashed by nearly 90% after population crash in a warming Bering Sea | The Seattle Times

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game set the 2022 snow crab harvest at the lowest level in more than 40 years, a move to protect populations that appear to have crashed during a period of higher temperatures in the Bering Sea. The snow crab is a mainstay of the Alaska crab boat fleet — much of it based in Washington — and the 2021-22 catch limit of 5.6 million pounds, announced Friday, is down 88% from the previous season. The 2021 fall harvest of Bristol Bay red king crab, another important source of revenue for that fleet, was canceled for this year because of too few females. The combined impacts of the closure and snow crab cutbacks are a big financial hit to crabbers who in past years have grossed more than $200 million from the two harvests. At a meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council this week, crabbers called for additional restrictions in other harvests. “I implore you to do whatever is necessary to keep the crab fisheries sustainable,” said Jenny Gore Dwyer, whose family owns three North Pacific crab boats, in Wednesday testimony before the council. “First and foremost we are a business based on fishing crabs in the Bering Sea … But for us, it’s not

Source: Alaska snow crab harvest slashed by nearly 90% after population crash in a warming Bering Sea | The Seattle Times