Bids sought for Tanner crab test fishery

Bids sought for Tanner crab test fishery

Lobbying from Cordova residents has prompted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to set up a test fishery for Tanner crab in Prince William Sound.

Assistant area management biologist Maria Wessel said the primary driver for the test fishery has been industry.

“Industry here in Cordova lobbied our mayor, and the mayor lobbied the governor, and between the governor and the commissioner of Fish and Game we were directed to run this test fishery to find out what kind of abundance is out there,” she said.

Landings in the Prince William Sound Tanner crab commercial fishery declined from a peak of 13.9 million pounds in the 1971-72 season to approximately 474,092 pounds in the1988 season. 

That was the last time the fishery took place.

The long closure has been due to low abundance demonstrated in earlier pot surveys and the current biennial trawl survey. 

Wessel said that around 2011 and 2012 the trawl surveys showed the largest abundance of legal males since the trawl surveys started in 1991. 

More recent surveys have shown less abundance. 

“While it’s most certainly up from when the fishery crashed, we’re not seeing numbers that seem like they would support a commercial fishery.

“That being said, there is plenty of habitat out there that is inaccessible by trawl, and that’s what the fishermen are thinking, and we don’t disagree with them.”

She said that people participating in the subsistence fishery for Tanner crab that has been going on since 2008 have been experiencing more success in recent years.

The department is accepting bids from vessels who want to conduct the test fishery, which will involve two individual lots of 300 pot pulls each, with all legal male crab from these pots being sold. 

That is where the funding will come from for the project, although the state will be funding 100 percent observer coverage on the vessel.

“That’s kind of the extent of the state’s financial commitment,” Wessel said.

The objectives of the test fishery are to determine the distribution of Tanner crab outside the current trawl survey locations and in historical survey and commercial fishery locations, as well as to determine the number of pre-recruits, recruits and post-recruits, and females.

Biological data also will be collected.

Bids must be received by noon on Feb. 16. Bid packets are available at the Homer and Cordova offices of ADF&G.

Cristy Fry can be reached at realist468@gmail.com.

More in Opinion

Larry Persily
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Oct. 14, 2021.
Letters to the Editor

Foundation support for Pier One appreciated In June of 2021, Pier One Theatre… Continue reading

Les Gara, who represented Anchorage in the Alaska House of Representatives from 2003-2018, is running as a Democrat to unseat Gov. Mike Dunleavy in the 2022 general election. He told the Empire in an interview he wanted to ensure oppportunities were available in Alaska in the future. (Courtesy photo / Les Gara)
Point of View: We can still work together to end COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I assumed we would come together to… Continue reading

Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Oct. 7, 2021.
Letters to the Editor

Freight alternative Mayor Ken Castner and the Homer City Council were right… Continue reading

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and this year it is important… Continue reading

Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Sept. 30, 2021.
Letters to the Editor

Dogs in public places The City of Homer Parks, Arts, Recreation and… Continue reading

Peter Zuyus
Point of View: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

Seniors of Alaska has had the pleasure to work with Dr. Anne… Continue reading

Steve Hughes. (Photo provided)
Point of View: We are all victims of COVID-19

This week Alaska claimed the nation’s top spot for the most positive… Continue reading

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships. (logo provided)
Point of View: September is National Recovery Month

The biggest challenge when talking about recovery is the truth that one… Continue reading

Most Read