Wednesday October 19, 2022

Anchorage Daily News

This winter will mark the first time in the history of U.S. management that the Bering Sea snow crab fishery will be closed.

While other crab stocks have been declining in the North Pacific for years, the snow crab fishery’s collapse is doubly shocking for the industry. Not only is it one of the larger crab fisheries by volume in Alaska, it has also gone from booming and healthy to overfished and collapsing within five years, with little warning or clear explanation. Fishermen who invested in permits and boats less than five years ago are now looking at bankruptcy.

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 sadness going into this closure.

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