Environmental Assessment of Amendment 17 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
Amendment 17 specifies a time period for rebuilding the the Pribilof lslands blue king crab stock intended to satisfy the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Under the rebuilding plan, the Pribilof lslands blue king crab stock is estimated to rebuild, with a 50 percent probability, within 10 years. The stock will be considered "rebuilt" when it reaches the maximum sustainable yield stock size level in 2 consecutive years.
Three alternative rebuilding strategies were examined. These strategies included Alternative 1, the status quo management of this fishery, Alternative 2, a rebuilding plan which allows for some directed harvest prior to the stock being rebuilt and Alternative 3 a rebuilding plan which allows for no directed harvest prior to the stock being rebuilt. Options under each alternative included a range of thresholds for opening the fishery, a range of harvest strategies for the directed fishery, and conservative time periods above the designated threshold for opening the fishery. No additional habitat or bycatch measures were proposed in any of the alternatives. Given the existing Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone and the fact that the bycatch of blue king crab in both crab and groundfish fisheries is a very low proportion of the total population abundance, peither habitat nor bycatch measures were expected to have a measurable impact in the rebuilding alternatives.