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Alaska Fishermen Granted Access to Harvest Lucrative Bering Sea Red King Crab

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Alaska Fishermen Granted Access to Harvest Lucrative Bering Sea Red King Crab

Alaska fishermen will have the opportunity to harvest red king crab, the largest and most valuable species of crab in the Bering Sea, after a two-year hiatus. The decision offers a glimmer of hope for the struggling fishery, which has been impacted by low numbers likely exacerbated by climate change. However, the snow crab fishery will remain closed for a second consecutive year, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Improving Abundance of Red King Crab

Survey results indicate modest improvements in the abundance of red king crab in Bristol Bay, providing some optimism for the fishery. The estimates of spawning crab and mature female red king crab surpassed the required thresholds for opening the fishery, as determined by both the state and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Conservative Approach and Catch Limits

To ensure conservation of the stock, a small but conservative fishery has been authorized for 2023. Fishermen will be allowed to catch 2.1 million pounds (952,500 kilograms) of red king crab over a three-month period, starting from October 15. This is a decrease from the 2.65 million pounds (1.2 million kilograms) caught in 2020.
Challenges and Closures for Snow Crab Fishery
In contrast, the snow crab fishery will remain closed due to concerns about the stock's population. The closure of the snow crab fishery in 2022 had significant impacts on commercial fishermen in Kodiak, Alaska. Assistance has been allocated by the U.S. Department of Commerce to support affected fishermen, but some expressed concerns about their ability to sustain their businesses until the funds arrive. In conclusion, the reopening of the red king crab fishery in the Bering Sea provides a glimmer of hope for Alaska fishermen. However, the ongoing challenges faced by the snow crab fishery highlight the complex and evolving nature of fisheries management in the face of climate change and population fluctuations.

Implications of Bering Sea Red King Crab Harvest for New Businesses

The recent decision to allow Alaska fishermen to harvest the lucrative red king crab in the Bering Sea after a two-year hiatus could have significant implications for new businesses in the fishing industry.

Opportunities and Challenges

The reopening of the fishery presents opportunities for new entrants to tap into a valuable resource, potentially boosting their revenues. However, the challenges faced by the snow crab fishery, which remains closed due to population concerns, underscore the volatility and unpredictability inherent in this sector.

Climate Change and Fisheries Management

The impact of climate change on fish stocks, as seen in the low numbers of red king crab, highlights the need for new businesses to factor environmental considerations into their strategies. They must also navigate the complexities of fisheries management, including conservative catch limits designed to ensure the sustainability of the stock.
Financial Support and Business Sustainability
While financial assistance is available for fishermen affected by fishery closures, the delay in the arrival of these funds raises questions about the financial resilience of businesses in this industry. New businesses must therefore have robust financial strategies in place to withstand such challenges. In conclusion, while the reopening of the red king crab fishery offers opportunities, new businesses must also contend with the challenges posed by climate change, fisheries management, and financial sustainability.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/alaska-fishermen-will-be-allowed-to-harvest-lucrative-red-king-crab-in-the-bering-sea
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