July 19, 2012
(SitNews) Anchorage, AK - Aleutian Island crabbers plan to use pots that will capture lots of small golden king crab in the upcoming fishery.
You heard right...
The harvester members of the Aleutian King Crab Research Foundation are using a $25,000 grant to purchase 20 crab pots designed to retain small crab – for science.
The golden king crab stock is regarded as one of Alaska’s most stable and will produce a catch topping six million pounds this season. But the remoteness of the crab fishery hampers regular surveys by state managers. To safeguard the resource, the fleet voluntarily uses gear configured with larger mesh than required by law to make sure small crab can get out of the pots. But that has resulted in a “Catch 22” type of situation, said Denby Lloyd, science advisor for the Foundation.
“By designing their gear to avoid juvenile crab during the commercial fishery, the information you get indicates there are no small crabs down there. To assess whether the population is in a productive cycle or not, you have to use a different method, such as the one in this project,” Lloyd explained.
The 20 test pots will be constructed with a smaller mesh to retain the juvenile crab instead of letting them go. Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientists will be on board to collect data on the golden king crab before they are returned to the sea.