Crabbers’ fears of a diving quota came true with the third-lowest snow crab harvest limit since 2005.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, responding to a bleak biological outlook and questionable forecast model, knocked the harvest limit for Bering Sea snow crab down 40 percent on Oct. 8.

The total allowable catch, or TAC, is now 40.6 million pounds, a 27-million pound cut from last year. It’s the lowest since the 48.6-million pound harvest in 2010, and 21 percent less than the most recent 10-year average. Based on recent ex-vessel prices, the quota cut is worth more than $50 million.

The Community Development Quota, or CDQ, program, which allocates 10 percent of Bering Sea harvest to 65 villages within 50 miles of the Alaska shore, will receive 4 million pounds. The remaining 36.5 million pounds will go to the rest of the fleet.

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