As Alaska’s crabbing industry has struggled amid climate change concerns and reduced seasons, the Bering Sea fleet must now deal with a closure of the snow and king crab seasons. Here’s more from the Seattle Times:
The move is a double whammy to a fleet from Alaska, Washington and Oregon pursuing Bering Sea crab in harvests that as recently as 2016 grossed $280 million.
“I am struggling for words. This is so unbelievable that this is happening,” said Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. “We have third-generation fishermen who are going to go out of business.”
The closures reflect conservation concerns about both crab species in the aftermath of bleak summer populations surveys. The tough decisions to shut down the snow crab and fall king crab harvests came after days of discussions by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists and senior agency officials who faced crabbers’ pleas for at least small fisheries.
“Management of Bering Sea snow crab must now focus on conservation and rebuilding given the conditions of the stock,” the department said in a Monday statement announcing the snow crab cancellation.