For the first time, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is canceling the winter snow crab season, due to the steep decline in the crab population. The lucrative Bristol Bay king crab fishery is also closed for conservation reasons for the second year in a row.
The season is now limited to about two million pounds of Bairdi crab, a close relative that is almost indistinguishable from snow crab and often interbreeds with it.
The reason for this is not known with certainty. However, the drop coincides with warming waters, said the director of the NOAA Kodiak Laboratory. Crabbers have asked for support in the form of assistance as has been done in the past for other Alaska fisheries, including salmon fisheries.