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Alaska's Bering Sea snow crab populations on the upswing

Katie Medred

The Associated Press reports (via the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner) that according to a federal report released Monday, a record number of fish populations have been rebuilt in U.S. waters. The report looks at species numbers on the East and West Coasts and along the coastlines of Alaska and Hawaii. Taken as a whole, the data represents a positive upturn in the sustained effort against overfishing in the U.S.

Among the list of rebounding species is the Bering Sea Chionoecetes better know under its commercial name, the snow crab. The snow crab has been on the U.S. overfished list for some time, and its well-deserved departure has Alaska experts pleased, acknowledging that the species may be stabilizing.

It should also be noted that with a stabilized population comes a stabilized market price, which is a good thing for those who enjoy this dainty but delicious white meat, and the crabbers who make their living from the tasty crustaceans.

The fleet has been kept from filling its quota of snow crab quickly this season, but that's because of more sea ice than usual, not for lack of crab.

In general, overfishing remains a serious problem, but the News-Miner reports that the percentage of U.S. species considered overfished is down from 23 to 21 percent, showing positive results from sustainability efforts around the country.

Read more from the AP, here. And read NOAA Fisheries' 2012 Annual Status of U.S. Stocks report, here.