Full 22/23 closure for king and snow crab

river mist

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This is a drastic closure and it worries me for what is in store for other major fisheries in the state.
 

33outdoorsman

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Yes, starting to get scary. You can add Yukon kings, Kusko kings, and Kenai kings to the list as well. A research paper came out a couple years ago showing size declines in all species of salmon with kings topping the list at about 10 percent size decline. Research always tends to be a bit behind the trend lines because quality data typically means 3 years of collection and then time for peer review. I think king size decline is more like 20 to 30 percent in last 30 years. When I started canning sockeye, I was told 5 sockeyes to do 12 pint jars. I’m getting close to being able to fit 7 filleted sockeye in 12 pint jars. Now, a Kenai River sockeye looks like a Kasilof River sockeye did 20 years ago.

Species are trying to adapt to changing conditions but the change is happening so fast some species are having a hard time keeping up. It’s no longer something that we can say our grandkids will have to deal with. Climate change is something that is going to hit us incredibly hard in the next 10 years. We are seeing continual escalation every year.
 

Patsfan54

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King crab abundance in the Bering Sea has been linked to Bristol Bay sockeye salmon abundance. When sockeye are more abundant king crab are less abundant and when sockeye salmon are less abundant king crab are more abundant. Sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay have been shattering records for abundance for the last five years, a downturn in king and snow crab abundance isn't altogether unexpected as they've been in decline for years while BB sockeye have been increasing in number.
 

kenaibow fan

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What’s the correlation? I don’t see how a growing fish population would affect a crab population. The only thing that comes to mind is competing for resources namely food?
 

Daveinthebush

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Kind of off topic but usually we get starfish in our shrimp traps and hairy snails. I have not seen either in several years now. Something wiped them out in PWS.
 

river mist

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I never would have put a sockeye and crab connection together. I assume a lot of boats will be lost because of financial reasons and if this happens what the ripple effect would be. Is it true that a lot of these boats serve as tenders for other fisheries in their off season.
 

Daveinthebush

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I never would have put a sockeye and crab connection together. I assume a lot of boats will be lost because of financial reasons and if this happens what the ripple effect would be. Is it true that a lot of these boats serve as tenders for other fisheries in their off season.
Yes. Sig, Harley and Jake from Deadliest Catch were all in town this summer. Harley and Sig were on the back of the Protector having wine and lunch on D-dock when I met Sig. Most of the DC fleet works PWS for the seining season.
Sig and the family have expanded to Norway and are trying to start a business up there.
 

iofthetaiga

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Kind of off topic but usually we get starfish in our shrimp traps and hairy snails. I have not seen either in several years now. Something wiped them out in PWS.
I still regularly catch plenty of snails and brittle stars, and last summer i caught a couple of fish eating stars (Stylasterias forreri), one of which was pretty big. And most all the derelict pots I pulled the last two years were full of snails and urchins.
 

Patsfan54

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What’s the correlation? I don’t see how a growing fish population would affect a crab population. The only thing that comes to mind is competing for resources namely food?
More fish means more mouths to feed. Young sockeye are known to eat young crabs, young sockeye are in the same area as the young crab, the more mouths need fed the more feed gets eaten.
 
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Patsfan54

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I never would have put a sockeye and crab connection together. I assume a lot of boats will be lost because of financial reasons and if this happens what the ripple effect would be. Is it true that a lot of these boats serve as tenders for other fisheries in their off season.
These boats spend more of their time not crabbing than they spend crabbing. Cod and other ground fish can be other revenue sources along with tendering. The fleet was pretty well slashed during crab rationalization in the early 2000's in part because crab stocks were in decline back then. Fishing is a cyclical business, and these boats are floating businesses that work year round.
 

cdubbin

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Now, a Kenai River sockeye looks like a Kasilof River sockeye did 20 years ago.
My wife caught the biggest Kasilof sockeye I've ever seen in her dipnet this year...didn't weigh or measure it, but it would have been a hog even on the Kenai...almost all our other reds were a nice size as well, larger than I was expecting...
 

4merguide

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My wife caught the biggest Kasilof sockeye I've ever seen in her dipnet this year...didn't weigh or measure it, but it would have been a hog even on the Kenai...almost all our other reds were a nice size as well, larger than I was expecting...
Yeah, I've still been seeing some monster reds the last few years, so I don't know where he's coming from. A couple years ago I lost the biggest red I've ever hooked. It actually jumped and broke my leader which rarely ever happens. Love those late season Kenai reds!
 

gunner

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Yeah, I've still been seeing some monster reds the last few years, so I don't know where he's coming from. A couple years ago I lost the biggest red I've ever hooked. It actually jumped and broke my leader which rarely ever happens. Love those late season Kenai reds!
Gottta agree with 33outdoorsman. Cook inlet sockeye without a doubt, are smaller on average than they used to be. Most of the drift gillnetters are using smaller web because of this. The commercial caught sockeye are sold by the pound. They are weighed. Gone are the days of a 6 3/4 to 7# average.
Many factors. The large escapements in recent years have resulted in more competition in the rearing lakes for nutrition. Other factors could be climate change or increased competition in the ocean due to ocean ranching. Who knows, maybe the larger web used in the past resulted in size selection survival. I doubt the last one, but it is possible.
 

4merguide

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Gottta agree with 33outdoorsman. Cook inlet sockeye without a doubt, are smaller on average than they used to be. Most of the drift gillnetters are using smaller web because of this. The commercial caught sockeye are sold by the pound. They are weighed. Gone are the days of a 6 3/4 to 7# average.
Many factors. The large escapements in recent years have resulted in more competition in the rearing lakes for nutrition. Other factors could be climate change or increased competition in the ocean due to ocean ranching. Who knows, maybe the larger web used in the past resulted in size selection survival. I doubt the last one, but it is possible.
Maybe you guys are right, just saying I haven't noticed it. But I don't fish reds till the late season, and they all seem normal size to me.
 

cdubbin

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Cook inlet sockeye without a doubt, are smaller on average than they used to be.
Fish wheel data does bear that out, for some runs...on the Kenai, the average length of 1.3 age-class fish between 1983 and 2015 shrank by about 40 millimeters, or an inch and a half...the Kasilof shrinkage was less than that, and the Yentna fish have been slightly increasing in size since the early 90s...
 

kenaibow fan

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Well I agree with those saying the Kenai fish are getting smaller, especially when it comes to the males. I typically fish for reds the last week of July through the first week of august, and I have noticed it over the last 4 years or so. But it doesn’t seem to stop with the reds, I think the silvers are getting smaller as well.
 

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