Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Fisheries

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 some crab fishery management activities 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.

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.

NOAA Fisheries Crab Management

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Crab Management

State of Alaska Crab Management 

Surveys and Research

Groundfish Trawl Regulations to Protect Crab and Their Habitat

Prohibited Species Catch (PSC)

Overfished Fisheries and Stock Determinations