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Bristol Bay red king crab quota halved, Bering snow crab doubled

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

According to announcements from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, total allowable catch (TAC) limits for crab have been set for 2011, and the figure for Bristol Bay king crab turned out to be only slightly worse than many in the industry had been expecting.

The Bristol Bay red king crab quota is being cut from last season's 14.84 million pounds to 7.83 million pounds this season, a 47-percent decrease.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce features a lengthy treatment of the TAC announcements, reporting that the new quota is the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery's lowest since 1988, when its TAC was 7.38 million pounds. It is also the largest year-to-year cut since 1992-1993, when the quota contracted by 53 percent. The fishery was closed in 1994 and 1995.

Fisheries blog Deckboss reports the announcement of the Bering Sea snow crab quota, which was made the day after the king crab announcement and did not appear in the Journal of Commerce report referenced above. That fishery got good news. Its quota was increased by 64 percent, from last season's 54.3 million pounds to this year's 88.9 million.

Both fisheries are slated to open Oct. 15.