The Council specified OFLs and ABCs for Aleutian Islands golden king crab (AIGKC) and Pribilof Islands blue king crab (PIBKC) and accepted the updated BSAI Crab SAFE chapters for those stocks. The Council also reviewed model scenarios for Eastern Bering Sea snow crab, Bristol Bay red king crab, and Eastern Bering Sea Tanner crab and several other issues from the May 2021 Crab Plan Team Report.
For AIGKC, the Council adopted an OFL of 4,817 mt and an ABC of 3,372 mt for the 2021/22 fishing year. The Council’s specified ABC reflected a 30% buffer below OFL, consistent with the SSC’s recommendations for several sources of uncertainty in the stock assessment. Uncertainty issues included a retrospective pattern in estimated biomass for the eastern portion of the stock, problems with model convergence, and declining fishery CPUE. Based on the updated stock assessment, AIGKC is not overfished.
For Pribilof Island blue king crab, which is assessed biennially, the Council adopted an OFL of 116 mt and an ABC of 87 mt for both the 2021/22 and 2022/23 fishing years consistent with the recommendations of the SSC and Crab Plan Team. The PIBKC stock is “overfished” and is in rebuilding, and no directed fishing is permitted. The specified ABC accommodates the occurrence of small amounts of PIBKC bycatch that occurs in other fisheries.
For both AIGKC and PIBKC, because 2021 catch data are still preliminary, a determination of stock status with respect to overfishing will not be provided until the final 2021 BSAI Crab SAFE is approved by the SSC at the October 2021 Council meeting.
Although the Crab Plan Team discussed development of risk tables for reducing ABC below the maximum permissible level, the Council addressed that issue separate from the Crab Plan Team report agenda item. Following a report from the SSC, the Council determined that further work on risk tables is needed through the Joint Groundfish Plan Teams before application to the crab specifications process.
Staff contact is Diana Stram