Kodiak’s first Tanner crab fishery in four years closed January 22nd after four days – the January 15th opener was delayed for several days due to blustery weather.
No word yet on the quality or abundance of the crab, which had a small, 400,000 pound catch limit. A price of $3.50 a pound was reported by buyers.
It’s slow going for crabbers targeting snow crab in the Bering Sea. The most recent count shows just 1.3 million pounds pulled up out of an 18.5 million pound catch limit.
The numbers of crab in the pots also were down compared to last year, averaging about 200 snow crab per pot, down from 238 crabs per pot last season. Only eight boats made snow crab deliveries last week while most of the fleet was focused on Tanners or dropping pots for cod fish.
The outlook was far better for Tanner crab – 19 boats pulled up nearly 70 percent of the 2.5 million pound quota, said fish writer Jim Paulin at Dutch Harbor. The pots were also pulling up more crab, averaging 81 compared to 47 last season.
Crabbers say there is lots of Tanner crab out there and that there should have been a much bigger quota.
No word yet on any Bering Sea crab prices.
Jacobsen said that advances so far for snow crab and Tanners are only preliminary payments to cover fishing expenses. He added that pricing for Bristol Bay red king crab, which wrapped up in November, should be available by the end of this month.
Elsewhere, openers for Tanners and golden king crab in Southeast Alaska will kick off in February.
And at Norton Sound, a total catch of 319,410 pounds of red king crab was just announced for this year. Only about 24,000 pounds is set for the winter fishery which will open during the first or second week of March. The remainder of the red king crab catch will be taken during the summer.
A quick switch to halibut – the catch limits for this year will be announced on Friday. The International Pacific Halibut Commission is meeting all week in Portland, Oregon.