Text Only: Yes | No

National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

BSAI Crab Fisheries

About BSAI Crab Fisheries Management

king crab
King crab. Photo: NOAA Fisheries Kodiak Laboratory

Crab fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) are managed under the Federal Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab. This FMP defers crab fishery management to the State of Alaska, including the opening and closing of fisheries and setting total allowable catches or guideline harvest levels for the fisheries. NMFS and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council retain the authority to establish the Crab Rationalization Program and Essential Fish Habitat, prevent overfishing, and rebuild overfished fisheries. NMFS and the Council also regulate the trawl fisheries to reduce their impacts on the crab stocks by establishing closed areas and reducing bycatch of crab in the trawl fisheries. The Council's Crab Plan Team coordinates crab management between NMFS and the State. It also provides Federal oversight of State crab management, develops FMP amendments to comply with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable federal law, and prepares the annual Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report. The Magnuson-Stevens Act created the crab Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program which allocates 10 percent of the total allowable catch to CDQ groups. The FMP defers management of the crab CDQ program to the State of Alaska with NMFS oversight.

Surveys and Research

NMFS annually surveys the BSAI crab stocks to estimate crab abundance. NMFS and the State of Alaska use this information to determine the status of the stocks and to set the harvest levels. The State of Alaska also conducts research to collect and evaluate basic life history data, characterize stock distribution, and develop methods to improve the fisheries and reduce bycatch.


Management and Regulations

NOAA Fisheries Crab Management


Groundfish Trawl Regulations to Protect Crab and Their Habitat


Overfished Fisheries and Stock Determinations


North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Crab Management


State of Alaska Crab Management

(External links)

Research and Population Information


Surveys and Research



← Sustainable Fisheries