October 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to the inaugural Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation e-newsletter. We are committed to keeping our collaborative research partners and members of the Bering Sea fisheries community informed and apprised of our work. This update provides some thoughts on recent harvest announcements as well as a pre-season research summary for a few important projects BSFRF has been working on this year including; tagging and crab movement, model/assessment improvements, and continued cooperative crab research. Please forward this newsletter widely to your contacts. With kind regards, the BSFRF Board of Directors

Crab Stock Status
In light of the recent announcements for the low total allowable catch (TAC) for the three major Bering Sea shelf stocks, it’s clear we are facing some big challenges to sustainable crab management. BSFRF’s work to improve the science used for Bering Sea crab management is now more important than ever. Our work continues to be directly funded mostly from the crab industry and our annual research plans and long-term strategy focus research priorities relative to lower status periods. Click to view historical TAC charts
Crab Movement and Tagging Research
We are observing variability in environmental conditions in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean correlated with recent declines in crab biomass. Thirty percent and greater declines in adult crab biomass in 2016 coincided with some of the warmest seawater bottom temperatures on record and a reduction in the cold pool (the cold pool is Bering Sea bottom water <2°C observed during the summer surveys). The crab, it seems, might be moving in response to these environmental variables and it is increasingly important to develop methods to track crab movement. Read more...
Crab Models and Assessments
Before crab assessment models existed, crab status trends and management actions were solely based on the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Bering Sea trawl survey data. Crab models are now in common use and continue to be refined for major Bering Sea stocks. As crab assessments have become more complex and data-rich, the model-assessment outcomes have yielded mixed results for determining status of a given stock. In some cases, model outcomes have provided clarity to managers, but in other cases, the models have highlighted more uncertainty. Regardless, the models are an invaluable tool for fisheries managers and researchers and BSFRF has supported the continued refinement of assessment models for Bering Sea crab stocks. Read more...
Collaboration and Upcoming Events
Collaborative Happenings: During the Crab Plan Team week (September 18-22) BSFRF hosted our third annual cooperative research planning dinner with our collaborating partners in Seattle to discuss a few research projects and exchange ideas to help with our upcoming research strategy and planning time. We also co-hosted, with the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, another Crab Science Symposium in Ballard. The Symposium was well-attended and ended with a productive “round table” discussion on research topics, surveys and models. We are continuing with further collaborative efforts through the end of this year – the next of which is a Bairdi Workshop in December in Anchorage. BSFRF is supporting collaborative meetings in 2017 with a budget of approximately $25,000.  
Upcoming events and meetings : Total Allowable Catch (TAC) setting is complete and crab season is about to begin. There are a few important research and management events also on the horizon. Here are a few current and upcoming events/dates:

October 2, North Pacific Research Board Request for Proposals (12/15/17 deadline)

December 4-12, North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting (Anchorage)

December 13-14, BSFRF Bairdi Workshop (Anchorage)

January 9-11, 2018, Crab Plan Team (modeling workshop)
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If you want more information or have questions about our work, please contact:

Scott Goodman, Executive Director, sgoodman@nrccorp.com
Doug Wells, Board President, dsqs@seanet.net
Gary Stauffer, Science Advisor, gdstauffer@outlook.com

Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation | October 2017 | www.BSFRF.org