Norton Sound Red King Crab OFL/ABC for 2022 and January Crab Plan Team Meeting Report
The Council received an overview of the 2022 stock assessment for Norton Sound red king crab (NSRKC). The council accepts SSC and CPT recommendations of maintaining an ABC buffer of 40%, given the concerns with the status of the stock and assessment model presented by the CPT. The council specified 2022 NSRKC OFL at 0.30 thousand t (0.67 million lb.) and an ABC of 0.18 thousand metric tons (0.40 million pounds) for Norton Sound red king crab.
The Crab Plan Team and SSC identified a range of concerns related to the NSRKC stock that contributed to maintaining an ABC buffer of 40%. These included uncertainty in methods for estimating discards, harvest specifications in length-dependent or length-independent natural mortality, and uncertainty in model inputs and model fit.
Other topics covered at the January CPT meeting and reviewed by the SSC, AP, and Council included modeling scenarios for the May 2022 stock assessment for Aleutian Islands golden king crab, survey planning and data collection, Essential Fish Habitat 5-year review and assessment of fishing effects, the 2021 crab economic SAFE, a CPT workshop on the GMACS modeling framework, and the snow crab rebuilding progress report.
Staff contact for the BSAI Crab Plan Team is Diana Stram/Sarah Rheinsmith
EBS Snow Crab Rebuilding Plan Progress Report
The Council received a progress report on the BS snow crab rebuilding plan. Action was neither reqiored nor taken at this meeting. The Council is scheduled to select alternatives for analysis during the June 2022 meeting.
On October 19, 2021, NMFS notified the Council that Bering Sea (BS) snow crab status has been changed to overfished. The BS snow crab assessment shows that mature male biomass (MMB) is 50,600 metric tons (mt), which is less than the minimum stock size threshold (MSST) of 76,700 mt, therefore the stock is overfished. The stock is not subject to overfishing. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires that a rebuilding plan be developed and implemented within two years of the stock being declared overfished. The rebuilding plan should specify a time period for rebuilding the fishery, not to exceed ten years. To facilitate development of the BS snow crab rebuilding plan, the Council was initially scheduled to select alternatives at this meeting. However, during the January 2022 Crab Plan Team (CPT) meeting, the team determined that the stock assessment model for assessing the snow crab stock status and intended for use in estimating the time frame for rebuilding the BS snow crab stock under different levels of fishing conditions, needs further refinement. The CPT is scheduled to review the stock assessment model during the May CPT meeting.
Staff contact for snow crab rebuilding is Jon McCracken.