Crab Season Canceled
Wildlife officials in Alaska last week announced the cancellation of fall king crab harvests in Bristol Bay for the second straight year and, for the first time, the winter snow crab harvest in the Bering Sea. The decision came after a survey revealed the continuing rapid decline of crab populations in both fisheries.
The Bering Sea cancellation represents a significant economic hit to the Pacific Northwest, with fleets grossing roughly $280M as recently as 2016. Data released last month estimated the number of mature male snow crabs in the Bering Sea had dropped more than 20% since 2021—a season that already recorded the lowest catch in four decades. The relationship between crab size and water temperature is complex; however, scientists are studying the impact of a period of intense warming four years ago.
Female snow crabs can carry up to 100,000 eggs, and it takes seven to nine years for males to reach maturity.