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5-Year Crab Fishing Ban Lifted in Kamchatka

The red king crab, native to the region, has a leg span of up to 1.8 m. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Federal Fisheries Agency has lifted a ban on the commercial production of Kamchatka crab implemented in 2008, an unidentified source in the agency's northeastern regional office said Friday.

This year the agency issued permits to produce 5,760 tons of crab in two local fishing zones, which leaves fishermen just more than one month to fill the quota for crab, the official told Interfax.

At current market prices that volume of crab can be sold for $50 million to $60 million.

The Agriculture Ministry, which set the recommended annual production volume earlier, said that 5,800 tons of crab represent approximately one tenth of the crab population in the region.

The decision was a result of recommendations by scientists, who said crab population had significantly increased in recent years because of the fishing ban and resuming commercial production was now possible.

Crab fishing was banned several times between 2005 and 2007 before a permanent ban took effect in 2008.

During the years of the ban the population of crab in Kamchatka region had grown from 38 million to 151 million, despite illegal fishing that brought poachers an estimated $500 million in revenue every year.

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