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NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-308

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The 2015 eastern Bering Sea continental shelf bottom trawl survey: Results for commercial crab species

The eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey has been conducted annually since 1975 by the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service. The purpose of this survey is to collect data on the distribution and abundance of crab, groundfish, and other benthic resources in the eastern Bering Sea.

These data are used to estimate population abundances for the management of commercially important species in the region. This document includes the time series of results from 1975 to the present.

The historical annual abundance and biomass estimates were recalculated with changes in which tows were included, the size-weight regressions used for biomass, and the criteria used for defining maturity. As a result, the historical estimates presented in this document may be different from previous year’s documents.

In 2015, 375 standard stations were sampled on the eastern Bering Sea shelf. The biomass estimates, reported in metric tons (t) and pounds (lb) with 95% confidence intervals (± 1.96 SE) for legal-sized males of each commercial crab stock in the eastern Bering Sea, were as follows:

Commercial crab species 2015 legal or preferred-sized male biomass (± 95% CI)
t*                                      lb**     
Bristol Bay District red king crab
     (Paralithodes camtschaticus)
Pribilof District red king crab 14,788
Pribilof District blue king crab
     (P. platypus)
St. Matthew Is. Section blue king crab 3,592
Southern Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi), east 166° W 22,853
Southern Tanner crab, east 166° W
     ≥ 4.9 inches
Southern Tanner crab, west 166° W 27,067
Southern Tanner crab, west 166° W
     ≥ 4.9 inches
Snow crab, all Districts (C. opilio) 71,550
Snow crab, all Districts
     ≥ 4.0 inches

*Estimates for preferred size classes are those with sizes listed in the left column.
**Biomass estimates in pounds were derived by converting the raw length data to pounds prior to calculating the area swept estimates.

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