This season, the unpredictable tanner crab population isn’t looking so good for Aleutian fishermen.
That’s what the state’s trawl survey indicated this summer.
But the City of Unalaska has joined an emergency petition urging the Alaska Board of Fisheries to take another look.
At a City Council meeting last week, Frank Kelty explained the survey showed low numbers for female tanners.
That’s led the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to consider serious conservation measures.
“The whole fishery could be shut down,” Kelty said.
But the problem isn’t affecting the whole fishery. Kelty said data indicates the eastern tanner stock is struggling with low female biomass, but not the western stock.
That’s why the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers association is sponsoring an emergency petition — to stop the entire fishery from closing when only half is at risk.
The Unalaska City Council voted unanimously to join the petition. Kelty said tanner season is critical for the community, which earns revenue from the fishery in taxes and fuel sales.
“We already have a snow crab fishery that’s possibly in jeopardy, and if we lose the bairdi fishery too … things are looking very bleak,” he said.
The City of St. Paul has also signed the petition, which was submitted to the Board of Fisheries last week. Now, crabbers will have to wait and see if the state takes public comment on how to manage the tanner fishery this season.
Alaska has a lot going on right now.
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- An email from Alaska's former first lady sheds new light on the actions that drove Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott from office, suggesting he may have invited a woman into his room, newly released emails show.
- A new Alaska group hopes to overhaul the state's oil and gas tax credit system through a ballot initiative called the Fair Share Act.
- Alaska regulators are considering whether the state should continue replenishing a rural telephone and internet service fund or shut it down.
- Hunters said the proposed Ambler Road would be closed to the public, while conservationists said it would hurt caribou and other wildlife needed by area villages.