The Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation completed its summer crab surveys in July (
see chief scientist Scott Goodman with some of the 1-2 year age-class crab collected). These surveys are a cornerstone of our research to build better data for Bering Sea crab harvest science. The surveys are done collaboratively with NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. While NMFS’ summer surveys collect multiple species, our surveys are crab-specific and utilize a specialized Nephrops trawl to capture smaller crabs than the NOAA gear can capture. This year our data collection focused on improving the selectivity estimates for
bairdi Tanner crab.
The survey vessels, F/V Royal American and F/V Half Moon Bay, left Dutch Harbor on June 15
th and completed 252 total tows over 24 days, making this venture one of the most efficient on record due to streamlined cooperation with NMFS. Ninety-six of the tows were conducted directly alongside NMFS survey vessels. In each tow, all crabs were separated by species and sex and measured. Mature females had their egg conditions recorded. While the survey mainly focused on Tanner crab, snow crab, red king crab, and blue king crab were also collected and recorded (
see the photo of the scientific crew measuring crab on the F/V Half Moon Bay).
Two of the field scientists this year were high achieving local high school students looking to garner real-life experience. The Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation takes pride in supporting young scientists and building research capacity from the ground up.
Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation scientists are currently finishing up processing data collected during the summer surveys. Survey results will be presented at the upcoming Crab Plan Team slated for September 10-13 and at the Crab Science Symposium hosted by Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers and Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation on September 14 (see event invitation below). both events will be held in Seattle.