Crab fisheries boost Alaska coastal communities; website dives into fisheries statistics
When most people think of Alaska crab, they envision huge boats pulling up “7 bys” for millions of pounds of bounty in the Bering Sea. (“7 bys” refers to the 7-foot-by-7-foot-by-3-foot size of the crab pots.)
But it is the smaller, local crab fisheries that each winter give a big economic boost to dozens of coastal communities across the Gulf of Alaska. They occur at a time when many fishing towns are feeling a lull while awaiting the March start of halibut and herring openers. The gearing up means a nice pulse of extra work and money for just about every business tied to fishing.
High winds and overall snotty weather delayed Kodiak’s Tanner crab fishery, but 83 boats dropped pots a day late on Jan. 16. They will compete for a 615,000-pound catch quota, an increase from 400,000 pounds last season. At an average weight of 2.2 pounds, that will yield about 280,000 crabs.
Prices were reported starting at $4.65 a pound, an increase from $4.50 last year. That could mean a payout of nearly $3 million to Kodiak fishermen.
Crab fisheries for Tanners and golden king crab will open throughout Southeast Alaska in mid-February. A fleet of about 60 boats typically participates each winter for a harvest of less than 1 million pounds of Tanners; around 30 boats fish for golden king crab, which has a harvest guideline of about 70,000 pounds.
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