Blue King Crab Management and Research
Management of blue king crab in the Bering Sea falls under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), through the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC). Annual assessments of biomass of male crab are used to determine the sustainable harvest for the upcoming year. These assessments and determination of harvest levels are conducted by ADF&G and NMFS staff, and then reviewed and approved by the NPFMC. Harvests are managed via a rationalized fishery, where a share of the allowable harvest is allocated to harvesters, processors, and coastal communities.
Abundance of populations of blue king crab in the Bering Sea are assessed annually with a trawl survey, estimates of removals due to harvest and bycatch, and assessment models to annually determine the biomass of male crab. With abundance currently at low levels, there has also been research into the culture of blue king crab for the purposes of rebuilding populations.