Fishing for snow crab in the Bering Sea
Credit: AK Dispatch

March 3, 2017


Despite the frigid weather, Alaska crabbers are hauling back pots from Southeast to the Bering Sea.
The year’s first red king crab fishery at Norton Sound has yielded 17,000 pounds of its nearly 40,000 pound winter quota for 55 fishermen. The crab are taken through the ice in areas near Nome. A summer opener will produce a total catch of nearly half a million pounds.

Red king crab from Bristol Bay has fetched the highest price ever for fishermen, averaging $10.89 per pound.

The Bering Sea snow crab fleet has taken 80 percent of its 19 million pound quota. Market prices are through the roof, topping $8 a pound at wholesale in both the US and Japan.

Alaska produces only about 10 percent of the world’s snow crab, with most of the pack coming from Eastern Canada, followed by Russia.

McDonald’s has begun testing a new snow crab sandwich in several San Fransisco Bay locations, reports USA Today. If it’s a hit, the sandwich could advance to nearly 250 locations  this year.

Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness crab fishery just wrapped up, but about 100 crabbers are still hauling pots for golden king crab and Tanners. The quota for golden kings is just over 100,000 pounds, no word yet for the Tanner catch.

Tanner crab is the talk of the town throughout  Cordova and Prince William Sound. Later this month, the state Board of Fisheries could create a harvest plan and regulations for a fishery for the first time in 27 years.  The region produced 13 million pounds of Tanners before the Exxon oil spill but locals believe the stock is now strong enough able to support a fishery.