Last updated on 11 March 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Chionoecetes opilio

SPECIES NAME(s)

Queen crab, snow crab

Korean and Russian populations (Bering Sea) of queen (snow) crab are clearly differentiated, as defended by Kang et al. (2013). However the stock structure is not truly understood along the Russian coast, so assessment units are identified (MARF, 2014): Northern Sea of Okhotsk, Karaginsky and W Bering Sea.

According to scientists, queen crab in Karaginsky sub-zone is represented by a single population (Slizkin, 1982; Fedoseev and Slizkin, 1988).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Managers follow scientific TAC and official catches did not surpass the set TAC.
  • There are several management regulations in place.
  • Levels of by-catches are considered small.
  • There are no ETP interactions reported in pot crab fishery.
Weaknesses
  • There are no biological reference points defined.
  • The stock status is not completely clear but there is a tendency of reduction in last years due to high catches.
  • There is IUU fishing and illegal trade of crabs.
Options
  • Reduction and elimination of illegal fishing and trade of crabs.
  • Improvement of the stock assessment accuracy.
  • Development of studies on possible effects of pots gears on benthic habitat.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 8

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Ensure that regulators and the CCA regularly undertake and publish official estimates of IUU crab fishing (catch and effort) and trade levels (volumes and value), and evaluate the performance of bilateral agreements between Russia and its trade partners on the eradication of IUU crab fishing and trade.
  • Press the government to implement standardized crab stock assessment methodologies and investigate implementation of a precautionary approach to crab fisheries management based on Biological Reference Points (BRPs) and Harvest Control Rules (HCRs).
  • Work to enhance public availability of crab stock assessments, and fisheries management data and decisions.
  • Ensure that the current FIP continues to make progress, expand to include additional species and management areas, and maximize the scope of planned MSC full assessment.

FIPS

  • Russian Far East Crab:

    Stage 5, Progress Rating B

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Karaginsky Russia Karaginsky Russian Federation Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 8 April 2014

Strengths
  • Managers follow scientific TAC and official catches did not surpass the set TAC.
  • There are several management regulations in place.
  • Levels of by-catches are considered small.
  • There are no ETP interactions reported in pot crab fishery.
Weaknesses
  • There are no biological reference points defined.
  • The stock status is not completely clear but there is a tendency of reduction in last years due to high catches.
  • There is IUU fishing and illegal trade of crabs.
Options
  • Reduction and elimination of illegal fishing and trade of crabs.
  • Improvement of the stock assessment accuracy.
  • Development of studies on possible effects of pots gears on benthic habitat.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 26 June 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Ensure that regulators and the CCA regularly undertake and publish official estimates of IUU crab fishing (catch and effort) and trade levels (volumes and value), and evaluate the performance of bilateral agreements between Russia and its trade partners on the eradication of IUU crab fishing and trade.
  • Press the government to implement standardized crab stock assessment methodologies and investigate implementation of a precautionary approach to crab fisheries management based on Biological Reference Points (BRPs) and Harvest Control Rules (HCRs).
  • Work to enhance public availability of crab stock assessments, and fisheries management data and decisions.
  • Ensure that the current FIP continues to make progress, expand to include additional species and management areas, and maximize the scope of planned MSC full assessment.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 8 April 2014

In general, all stock assessments of Russian Far East (RFE) crabs are based on data collected in annual census surveys At present most of the surveys are trap-based although some uncertainty with trap catchability coefficients (Niziaev at al., 2006) can occur. Addition information for stock assessment comes from fisheries research surveys of crab ecology, stock structure, distribution and abundance (Slizkin and Safronov, 2000).

There are two approaches used to estimate stock size based on the analysis of spatial distribution of survey results: 1) estimation of instant stock abundance and biomass through geostatistics techniques that allow extrapolate densities of commercial-size male crabs obtained for areas surveyed to the entire area of the stock distribution and 2) calculate the difference between biomass estimates obtained in surveys conducted before and after the end of a fishing season which also allows a correct estimation of trap catchability coefficients (Slizkin and Safnonov, 2000).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 8 April 2014

At present, stock assessment and TAC estimation don’t rely upon biological reference points (BRP) such as target fishing mortality and target stock biomass. For the reason, current harvest control rules (HCR) are not BRP-based. Nevertheless, assessment of stock biomass and TACs takes into account data on crab mortality, both natural and fisheries-related, stock structure, sex composition, female maturity stages and average weight of commercial males.

The TAC estimation for any given year is based on data from census surveys conducted two years ago. For example, TAC-2014 is based on 2012 survey data. The calculation algorithm incorporates estimates of fishable biomass at the time of the survey, plus recruitment and less total removal for the year next to the year of the survey, i.e. including natural mortality and catches. For most species and stocks of RFE crabs, including queen crabs, a TAC usually comprises 10% of the fishable biomass, i.e. of commercial sized males. When a stock state is in unsatisfactory condition, a TAC is established at “precautionary” 5%. When rebuilding of a stock is required, the TAC is established at ‘0’ and a fishery is closed.

Reference Points

Last updated on 08 Apr 2014

At present, stock assessment and TAC estimation don’t rely upon biological reference points (BRP) such as target fishing mortality and target stock biomass.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 8 April 2014

The stock status condition is not completely clear and abundance estimates have been very variable. For 2012, the abundance estimates of queen crab (1.8millions of commercial-size crab males) was below the long-term average but represented 2.5 times the abundance estimates in 2010 (0.7 millions of commercial-size crab males).

Trends

Last updated on 08 Apr 2014

Since 1994-1996, a wide range of variation was observer in queen crab abundance in Karaginsk sub-zone associated with natural variability and, most probably, observed high level of catches. In part, it could also be attributed to flows and shortcomings in some of the conducted surveys.

The first substantial reduction in the stock size observed from the beginning of recent census surveys took place in 1997-1998. The stock abundance in 1997 was as low as 0.86 millions crabs. The annual TACs were then substantially reduced and, by 2002, the stock was rebuilt to 7.64 millions crabs. Another reduction of the stock was recorded in 2006 and then in the recent period of 2008-2012. Scientists link the reduction with high level of catches in 2009-2011 comprising both officially reported and illegal catches.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 8 April 2014

In general, fisheries regulatory bodies consistently follow TAC recommendations made by scientists. From time to time, some TAC corrections could be introduced based on results of surveys conducted in the year immediately before the year for which the TAC is originally established. Again, it is done following recommendations received from scientists. Information of TACs adopted and quotas allocated to fishing companies is published in open to public sources. In 2012, official catches (148 tons) represented 70% of the set TAC (214 tons).

The TAC for queen crab in the Karaginsk sub-zone for 2014 was set at level of 2013, i.e. 110 tons. Until 1998, quotas combined catches for both Queen and Bairdi (Chionoecetes bairdi) crabs(TINRO 2012, 2013).

The current set of RFE fisheries regulation was adopted in 2011. It is expected that new regulations will be approved and adopted by the end of 2013. For crab fisheries, fisheries regulations contain both general and species-specific regulations. In all crab fisheries is prohibited: retaining on board of female crabs of all species; using of any crab traps other than specified in fisheries regulations; using winches for main ropes of trap sets with pulling power of less than 10 tonnes (when fishing for deep-water species of snow crabs). All by-catches of juvenile crabs should be returned immediately to the sea and all by-catches of crab species not listed in the vessel fishing licence should be returned to the sea. Additionally, when a by-catch of juvenile crabs is more that 8% by fishing effort, the vessels should change its trap setting position to a distance not less than 5 nautical miles from the previous set.

For Karaginsky sub-zone the fishing size of queen crabs should not be less that 10 cm. In this sub-zone there is also a minimal daily catch per vessel of 0.63 tonnes and fishing for queen crab if prohibited in the sub-zone located to the east of 168°55’ E.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 08 Apr 2014

For most species and stocks of RFE crabs, including queen crabs, a TAC usually comprises 10% of the fishable biomass, i.e. of commercial sized males. When a stock state is in unsatisfactory condition, a TAC is established at “precautionary” 5%. When rebuilding of a stock is required, the TAC is established at ‘0’ and a fishery is closed.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 8 April 2014

Queen crab is a main commercial species in fisheries for crabs in Karaginsk sub-zone.

A modern system of fisheries monitoring and control is in place in Russia. It incorporates, in particular, such features as licensing with allocation of vessel quotas, fishing season and fishing grounds; Daily Vessel Reports of catches, by-catches and seafood products produced on board; VMS positioning, at-sea inspection of vessels and transhipments, and port inspections. Delivery of catches from Russia EEZ and adjacent shelf areas for processing in maritime ports for domestic market and export is mandatory.

The issue of illegal fishing for crabs and trade in illegal crab products originated from Russia EEZ and adjacent shelf areas remains to be a significant problem for the RFE fisheries basin.In recent years, IUU fishing activities of the flag-of-convenience vessels, especially in fisheries for RFE crabs, have become of additional major concern. According to GMI reports for 2011 and 2012, illegal catches of crabs were 1.97 to 2.09 times above official catch statistics (Fish of Kamchatsky Krai, 2013) but there is a high uncertainty in these estimates. However, in general, levels of illegal fishing and trade, in particular for RFE crabs, have a tendency for their reduction.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 8 April 2014

There is only one protected species of mammals inhabit areas along the East Kamchatka coast – sea otter (Kamchatka Red Book ). However, sea otters inhabit only in near-shore waters and their areas of distribution do not correspond to crab fishing grounds. There were no records reported on any interactions of sea otters with crab pots.

Other Species

Last updated on 8 April 2014

No publications with results of any systematic studies of by-catches in RFE crab pot fisheries were located. In general, available information indicates that levels of by-catches are small. For example, since 2002, MagadanNIRO scientists conduct annual by-catch studies during queen crab fishing in three dedicated areas in the central and NW areas of the Sea of Okhotsk (TINRO, 2013).Results of 2002-2011 surveys give an average total level of by-catch of about 1% plus. The main by-catch species are golden king crab, common whelk (Gastropoda), pacific cod and eel-pots (Zoarcidae).By-catches of fish occasionally also include flatfish, halibuts, rays and pollock.

Crabs are also taken as by-catch in trawl fisheries for bottom fish. A couple of experimental studies were carried out recently to determine survival rates of caught and released crabs, including females and undersized juveniles of target species. These investigations dealt with species other than queen crab. Nevertheless, the results obtained could be treated as indicative for queen crab as well. For example, survival rates of triangle tanner crab (one of commercial snow crabs) in the Sea of Okhotsk, varied from 0 to 8.3%, with average of 3.6%, after the pot was hauled twice from the bottom (Vasiliev and Klinushkin, 2011).

HABITAT

Last updated on 8 April 2014

Crab fishing traps are passive fishing gear. In general, if all related fisheries regulations are compiled with, it is considered that traps have minimum impact on crab habitat, benthic biota and environment (PINRO, 2013). No publications with results of any direct observations or studies of potential crab pot impact on benthic habitat in RFE fisheries were located.However, for other world fisheries, for example in Alaska, some concern was indicated with damage by crab pots which could be “caused to corals, sponges, and some other sessile organisms by hooking, by crushing and plowing by pots and anchors, and from shearing by groundlines upon retrieval”.

RFE Fisheries Regulations introduced some rules to prevent ghost fishing by lost pots.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 08 Apr 2014

Within the Karaginsk sub-zone there are two nature land-based reserves with narrow (6-12 nautical miles) protected shore-line marine waters – Kronotsky and Koriaksky reserves (Russian Specially Protected Nature Territories, undated) There is no crab fishing in these waters.

Within the Karaginsk sub-zone there is an area located to the east of 168°55’ E in which fishing for queen crab is prohibited.

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

A new standard crab stock assessment methodology, including application of a precautionary approach with reference points and a Harvest Control Rule (HCR), was developed in 2015 by the VNIRO Research Institute in cooperation with the Fishery Agency. However, its implementation is only about to start. Total Allowable Catch (TAC) definition oscillates with stock status in order to protect the resources from Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) situations and promote sustainable fisheries (Muran and Flake, 2012). When a stock state is in an unsatisfactory condition, a TAC is established at a "precautionary" level - 5% of fishable biomass (males). When rebuilding of a stock is required, the TAC is established at '0' and the fishery is closed. Other measures are implemented: juveniles or non-commercial crabs should be returned immediately to the sea as well as all crab species not listed in the vessel fishing license. Females cannot be retained onboard (Ministry of Agriculture Order No. 396 of 21 Dec 2013).

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

The Federal Fisheries Agency (FFA) centralizes marine resources’ assessment, management and regulation. Total Allowable Catch (TAC) proposals submitted to FFA are then scrutinized on a participatory process that auscultates non-governmental entities and the industry. The State Ecological Expertise (SEE) under the Ministry of Natural Resources, and composed of independent scientists, reviews the proposal. The TAC is finally set and formally published each year in 'Orders', since 2012 by the Ministry of Agriculture (PURFC, 2012). To protect the stock from overfishing, fishing areas are delimited since January 2015 (SFP, 2015).

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Catches are below the catch limit but illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and trade are a concern. Minimum daily catch limits are set to prevent misreporting of daily catches (vessels of 34-65m length). In December 2013, under the Fishing Industry Development Federal Program, a National Plan to combat IUU fishing was also implemented (WWF, 2014). Since 2009 (Russian Federation Ordinance No. 990 of 24 Dec 2008) all fishing products caught within the Russian territory have to pass through customs procedure to be declared. All vessels operating in Russian waters are monitored through satellite. An electronic logbook system and electronic permissions are being tested (Muran and Flake, 2012; PCA, 2012). Bilateral international trade agreements with the main importing countries were one of the solutions found to decrease this issue (South Korea, China, North Korea, Japan, Canada, US) (Muran and Flake, 2012; WWF, 2014; SFP, 2015).

STOCK HEALTH:

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for stock status
No data available for stock status
DATA NOTES

1) Catches represent official reports, i.e. no IUU estimates included. Although the official catches did not overpass the set TAC, IUU and illegal trade is a significant problem. 2) Abundance is used as biomass proxy and is expressed by millions of commercial-size crab males. 3) It was not possible determine scores #4 and #5 since there are no biological reference points (BRP) defined. The stock status is not completely clear due the survey abundance estimates have been very variable. However, there is a tendency of reduction in last years due to high catches. The stock assessment needs to be improved to allow evaluating the real state of the stock (mouse-over for more details).

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: B
Evaluation Start Date: 1 Jun 2012
Type: Basic

Comments:

Progress rating remains B. Last stage 3 and 4 achievements within the last 12 months 

1.
FIP Development
Dec 15
2.
FIP Launch
Mar 12
Apr 14
3.
FIP Implementation
Jan 18
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Jan 18
5.
Improvements on the Water
Jan 17
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

Fedoseev, V.Y., Slizkin A.G., 1988. Reproduction and formation of population of queen snow crab Chionoecetes opilio in seas of the Russian Far East. Compendium of scientific papers of VТIRO. Moscow, VNBIRO, pp.25-35. (in Russian).

Fish of Kamchatsky Krai, 2013. News of 20 March 2013. Available online at http://www.fishkamchatka.ru/?cont=long&id=42454&year=2013&today=20&month=03

Heifetz, J., 2000. Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitat Proposed Research Plan for the Alaska Region, March 2000 (revised May 2003).http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/ABL/MESA/archives/pdfs/USGSNOAAwithout$.pdf

Kamchatka Red Book, 2007.Volume 1, Sea otter (Enhydra lutris, Linnaeus, 1758), (in Russian).http://www.kamchatsky-krai.ru/red_book_kamchatka/mlekopitaushie/10_kalan_1.htm

Kang, J.H., Park, J.Y., Kim, E.M., Ko, H.S. 2013. Population genetic analysis and origin discrimination of snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) using microsatellite markers, Mol Biol Rep. 40 (10): 5563-71 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24022521

Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation (MARF), 2014. Confirming TACs for coastal waters, territorial seas, the continental shelf, the EEZ, and the Caspian and Azov Seas of the Russian Federation for 2015. Regulation No. 339. October 21, 2014. 9pp. https://fishnews-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/docs/783/prikaz_ob_utverzhdenii_odu_na_2015_g.pdf

Niziaev, S.A., Bukin, S.D., Klitin, A.K., Perveeva, E.R, Krutchenko, A.A., Abramova, E.V., 2006. Research handbook on commercial Crustaceans of the Russia Far East seas. Vladivostok, TINRO-Centre, pp.162. (in Russian).

PINRO, 2013. TAC-2014 Publish hearings documents, Northern fisheries basin, PINRO, 2013, Murmansk (in Russian).http://www.pinro.ru/

Russian Specially Protected Nature Territories, undated. Summary information portal (in Russian). http://oopt.info/index.php?page=1

Slizkin A.G., 1982. Distribution of snow crabs genus Chionoecetes and their condition of their habitat in the Northern Pacific Ocean. Izvestia TINRO. Vladivostok, Volume 106, pp. 26-33 (in Russian).

Slizkin, A.G., Safnonov, S.G., 2000. Commercial crabs in Kamchatka coast seas. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Publ. “North Pacific”, 153 pp. (in Russian).

TINRO, 2012. Crabs-2012. Fisheries forecast. Vladivostok. TINRO-Centre. (in Russian).

TINRO, 2013. Crabs-2013. Fisheries forecast. Vladivostok. TINRO-Centre. (in Russian)

References

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