Dennis Kim of Pruitt's Seafood sorts Alaska Snow Crabs (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Alaska officials have canceled the fall Bristol Bay red king crab harvest, and for the first time, have also scrapped the winter harvest of smaller snow crab.The move is a double whammy to a fleet from Alaska, Washington and Oregon chasing Bering Sea crab in harvests that in 2016 grossed $280 million, The Seattle Times reported. According to CBS News, an estimated 1 billion crabs have disappeared, a 90% drop in population.The closures reflect conservation concerns about both crab species following bleak summer populations surveys.
The 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."I am struggling for words. This is so unbelievable that this is happening," said Jamie Goen, executive director of the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, adding that some crabbers will go out of business.READ MORE: Climate-fueled wildfires worsen the danger for struggling fish"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.Snow crab populations declined after a 2019 Bering Sea warming that scrambled the broader marine ecosystem.
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