The shockwaves from the decision to close the Bering Sea snow and king crab fisheries this winter will go on for a while. The Alaska Journal of Commerce broke down some of the numbers of what the shutdown could cost for the crabbing industry and the overall economic impact:
Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, the trade organization representing the industry, has estimated the direct financial losses at about $500 million. Adding in the ripple effects to the economy, that estimate rises to about $1 billion. Jamie Goen, the executive director of ABSC, said fleet members have expressed frustration with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s past inaction on crab conservation as well as the sadness going into this closure.
“(There is) deep sadness and shock with what we’re facing right now,” she said. “I think there was hope there would at least be a small fishery to keep our guys surviving and vessels working.
”The council heard and agreed to set maximum catch limits, which the Alaska Department of Fish and Game followed with the announcement of a total closure for both the Bering Sea snow crab fishery and Bristol Bay red king crab. This is the second year in a row for Bristol Bay red king crab, which has been declining for more than a decade, but this is the first Bering Sea snow crab closure in the history of U.S. management, Goen said.