Fishing Gear Selectivity in the Rationalized Aleutian Islands Golden King Crab Fishery
Douglas Pengilly, Vicki Vanek, and M.S.M. Siddeek
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One intended benefit of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program instituted in 2005 was to reduce bycatch. In the Aleutian Islands golden king crab commercial fishery, a reduction in the bycatch of females and sublegal males in absolute biomass and relative to the retained catch of legal (≥152 mm carapace width) males has occurred since fishery rationalization. It has been suggested that the prolonged soak times of the traps (“pots”) used in the fishery since rationalization were responsible for the reduction in bycatch. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game performed a study in cooperation with commercial fishers during the 2012/13 commercial fishery season to estimate the pot selectivity of golden king crab in the current rationalized commercial fishery. Catch data on golden king crab were obtained from 31 pairs of small-mesh research pots and commercial fishing pots fished in the same longlined strings during normal commercial fishing operations. A size-selectivity curve for male golden king crab by the commercial fishing pots was fitted and the estimate of size at 50% selectivity was 135 mm carapace length, equivalent to the minimum legal carapace width for males in the commercial fishery. It was estimated that only 11% of the female golden king crab that enter commercial fishing pots are retained by the pot. It was concluded that the low selectivity of female and sublegal male golden king crab by pots fished during the rationalized fishery is attributable to the increase in soak time that coincided with fishery rationalization.
- Item number: AK-SG-15-01n
- Year: 2015
- Pages: 16
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.4027/fbgics.2015.14