Red crab, green fishery
The red king crab fishery in Bristol Bay hasn't always been the model of sustainability it is today. Shortly after peak harvests in 1980, the red king crab stock collapsed and managers cut harvest levels for the next two decades to rebuild the stock. The fishery was also operating as a "derby"— anyone could enter and the fishery was closed when the catch limit was reached. This meant that when the fishery opened, everyone raced out to get as much of the allowed catch as quickly as they could, regardless of the weather and market conditions or the environment. This made for an inefficient, unsafe fishery that wasn't very profitable. And it wasn't doing much to help the crab resource rebuild either.
To improve these conditions, managers implemented an individual fishing quota (IFQ) for the fishery in 2005, replacing the derby-style fishery. Under the IFQ system, individual fishermen are given a share of the harvest and can catch their share at any time during the fishing season. This has resulted in a safer and more efficient fishery with a longer season, as fishermen can take weather and economic factors into account when deciding when to fish. According to CNN Money's article, there has only been one death in the fishery in the past six years (compared to an average of more than 7 deaths a year in the 1990s).
The Bristol Bay red king crab population has finally bounced back, too. Under the new system, fishermen leave their traps in the water longer, which allows undersized crab to escape and grow to legal size. Since they're no longer rushing, fishermen have time to properly handle females, which cannot be harvested, so they can be safely returned to the water to reproduce. According to the most recent estimates, mature females are almost 3 times more abundant than they were in 1985, and mature males are 2.2 times more abundant.
Under several years of innovative management, the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery has become one of the most valuable fisheries in the United States. The derby fishery brought a lot of cheap crab to the market for a short period of time; with a longer fishing season under the IFQ system, the market is no longer flooded and crab can be sold at higher, more stable prices. Value has increased by more than 100 percent because of the IFQ system —last year, crabs sold for nearly $7 a pound (compared to $3 a pound in 2005).