As the Bering Sea fishing industry braces for the financial fallout from the closure of king and snow crab fisheries this season, there could be more dire news on the horizon, as Alaska Public Media reports. Here’s more on the uncertain future:
Snow crab may be the “poster child” of climate change, council member Bill Tweit said during deliberations on a rebuilding program that was ultimately approved at the meeting, but much more will be affected by the long-term changes in the ocean.
“It’s going to be more and more a problematic question for us among a broader range of species than just snow crab,” Tweit said.
In the short term, loss of the snow and red king crab harvests is devastating. Direct losses from harvest cancellations this year amount to $287.7 million, according to state estimates. Local governments are suffering, too, like the Aleut community of St. Paul, which relies on the crab harvests for more than 90% of its tax revenue.