Fish Radio
Crabbers expand access to catch quotas in Bering Sea
February 6, 2015                

Snow crab in the Bering Sea Credit:

Snow crab in the Bering Sea


 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Get the Right of First Offer for crab quota shares. I’ll tell you more after this —

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Crabbers have devised a way to recruit young entrants into the Bering Sea fisheries. They want to get the word out, because the ‘graying of the fleet’ also applies to them.

The long term future of the fishesry is dependent on bringing young people in. that’s not unique to crab, we are seeing all over Alaska and fisheries in the US. There just isn’t that pipeline of young people coming up through the ranks, and this Right of First Offer program is one of the ways we hope to change that.

Mark Gleason is director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, a harvester group. It’s long been a goal of managers to make sure that active participants, like captains and crews, have access to crab quota shares. In numerous workshops, the group got feedback from fishermen on road blocks to buying in. That resulted in the Right of First Offer program –

Basically what that does is it carves out at a minimum ten percent of that transaction and that is then offered on a right of first offer basis to active captains and crew. So one, there is prior notification when quota becomes available, it takes large blocks and chops it up into smaller chunks, and it increases transparency.

Brokers take over with all quota transactions. Gleason calls it a more affordableway to get ownership in the crab fisheries, without the need to buy or build a big boat.

And now with quota based management, and the opportunity to buy smaller chunks of quota, a guy can get in with relatively little amounts of money. Buy quota, bring that to the boat, use that to build his assets over time – that’s a new pathway into ownership in this fishery that never existed before. 10

Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers has launched a registration website at and find links at


Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at – In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.