The Kodiak Tanner crab fishery is a low-impact fishery that supports local fishing families in the winter. Tanner crab has been a favorite Catch of the Season offering among Alaskan consumers. AMCC has been working with local fishermen to protect Tanner crab stocks around Kodiak Island by tapping fishermen’s expertise to map important areas and closing habitat crucial to the long-term health of the resource and reducing the number and mortality of crab caught as bycatch.
In 2010 the NPFMC closed Marmot Bay to bottom trawling to protect Tanner crab, and also voted to increase observer coverage in key areas to get more accurate data on crab bycatch levels. This action was implemented in 2014, along with a requirement for non-pelagic trawlers to use modified gear which raises the trawl sweep up from the seafloor.
The Kodiak Tanner crab fishery was closed for the 2014 season after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game fall 2013 survey showed that the abundance of male Tanner crab was not high enough to meet the threshold required to open the fishery.
AMCC and Kodiak crab fishermen agree that when the crab population is low, the fishery should be closed. The NPFMC’s actions were an important step, but we need more information about how much crab is actually taken as bycatch in the waters surrounding Kodiak. Together with our fishing partners, AMCC advocates for a more accurate accounting of crab bycatch around Kodiak Island through increased observer coverage.