Positive abundance trends for Barents Sea crab stocks
The Board of Directors of Russia’s fishery research institutes meeting in late March have produced advice for an increased TAC of the red king crab and snow crab opilio in the Barents Sea in 2021, reports Megafishnet.com.
Red king crab
According to the Federal Agency for Fisheries, the increase in the temperature of the Barents Sea waters observed in recent decades has had a positive effect on the stocks of the red king crab and has led to the shift of its commercial schools to the eastern areas of the Barents Sea. The results of the 2020 surveys point to a high abundance of this species, and therefore it is recommended to increase the red king crab TAC by 875 tons, namely from 10940 metric tons to 11815 tons in 2021.
Snow crab opilio
The second commercial crab species in the Barents Sea – the snow crab opilio -appeared here recently, at the end of the twentieth century, but over the past twenty years it has spread throughout the sea and formed a large growing population. The results of the snow crab fishery in 2018-2020 confirmed stability of the stock and the gradual expansion of its range to the east. The surveys in 2019-2020 recorded the appearance of a new strong class entering the fishing stock in the Barents Sea. In this regard, for 2021, it is recommended to increase the snow crab opilio TAC by 1325 tons-up to 14575 metric tons.
At the same time, the snow crab opilio has already reached commercial abundance in the Kara Sea. It is planned to open the snow crab fishery in these waters in 2021.