Fish and Game cuts gold king crab quota despite lack of data

crab9Despite industry claims of a fishery in “robust condition,” golden king crab, long the most stable of all the commercial shellfish species in the Bering Sea, has taken a steep cut in the quota in the western district, to 2.235 million pounds, down from 2.98 million, a 25 percent drop because of declines in all indicators, including size, weight, and catch, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The season opened Aug. 1 in both districts, separated near Atka Island. The eastern quota is unchanged at 3.310 million pounds. The decline has been gradually occurring for at least the past four years, according to shellfish biologist Miranda Westphal, of Fish and Game in Unalaska. But you wouldn’t have thought the fishery’s future was anything but bright, if you only listened to the gold crabbers’ efforts to boost the quotas a couple of years ago, with claims of a “surplus” by their lobbyist who criticized the regulators who failed to vote his way. Read the story here 16:26