Recently, the Crab Plan Team–a part of the North Pacific Fishery Managment Council–held a meeting in Seattle, Washington where they discussed and assessed the status of crab levels/stocks, the crab rationalization program, and other related topics that assisted them in creating their own recommendations for the 2008-2009 crab Total Allowable Catch. Whether these numbers will become the ‘official’ TAC for the crab fleet remains to be seen but the information is certainly interesting and obviously much thought and study was put into the result….
…The recommended OFL for Bristol Bay red king crab, including the bycatch in the non-target fisheries, is 24.2 million pounds a similar number to last season.
The recommendation for opilio crab is similar to last season as well 77.3 million pounds. Alaska Fish & Game biologist Forrest Bowers said some people expected it to rise this year.
“The stock assessment model for snow crab last year was predicting that abundance was going to increase and we’d have a higher OFL,” he said. “But after the results of the summer survey came in, the survey results did not support an increase in abundance so the model estimates from last year were revised to reflect that.”
This is the first year the crab plan team has recommended new OFLs. Previous seasons used the numbers that were fixed in the management plan. The new process revises the OFLs annually. Bowers says the new process will result in better management practices and healthier stocks.