Crab fishermen weigh in on observer coverage

A camera used for electronic monitoring in place of a live observer. (Photo by Kayla Desroches / KMXT)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The tanner crab fishery opened last year for the first time in the Kodiak Management Area since 2013, and some tanner crab fishermen are pushing for more thorough observer coverage in the trawl sector.

This weekend at a North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Kodiak, the council reviewed a discussion paper on flatfish trawlers and the pot cod fishery in certain waters around Kodiak, especially in connection to the tanner crab as a prohibited species. The paper emphasized observer coverage and fishery effort.

An earlier discussion paper found that it was inconclusive what effect trawling had on tanner crab stock in the fishery, especially when also considering the environment and other factors. This supplemental discussion paper did not find a notably higher rate of effort in the fisheries it studied –  if anything, they appeared to decrease. It also found the tanner crab mortality to be low.

A number of fishermen stepped forward to comment on observer coverage.

An ongoing concept is 100 percent observer coverage within the trawl sector and the further use of electronic monitoring in place of live observers.

Here are some excerpts from the comments following the presentation of the discussion paper. They’re arranged in order to speaking.


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