Profile updated on 14 December 2021
Blue king crab
Blue king crab Paralithodes platypus are found in the North Pacific waters of Alaska and Russia. Stoutamore (2014) concluded that some genetic divergence may occur between the Russian and Alaskan populations, although stock structure is poorly understood (Stoutamore 2014). Within Russian waters, distinctions for management purposes are made among Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and Sea of Japan populations. The species' range in Russian waters stretches from Chukotka in the north down to Primoriya in the south (Koblikov et al. 2010); southward of that, there is a fishery in Hokkaido, Japan, as well. Among blue king crab in Russia, the population residing in the northeastern Sea of Okhotsk region that abuts up to Shelikhov Bay is historically the most productive (Shaginyan 2019); however, harvests in the West Bering have been ascendant throughout the 2010s and as of 2019 rival those of the northeastern Sea of Okhosk (Federal Fisheries Agency 2020).
The West Bering fishery management zone 61.01 covered by this profile incorporates the districts of Anadyrsk and Olutorsk-Navarinsk (where most of the crab fishing occurs). Directly to the south of Olutorsk-Navarinsk is the Karaginsk district, not included in this profile, where fishing for blue king crab has been limited to research catch since 2008 due to persistent low stock status (Federal Fisheries Agency 2021).