Both the catch and number of boats on the grounds were down a bit for Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness fall crab fishery that wrapped up on November 30th.

“So far we’ve had 790,000 pounds so far caught in the fall season and we usually catch right around a million pounds.”

Adam Messmer is area shellfish manager with the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game at Douglas. He says 104 crabbers dropped pots this fall compared to 192 for the summer crab fishery, likely due to a low price.

“I know anecdotally because of the price being so low that there was quite a few of the larger boats that didn’t go this fall that normally do fish.”

Messmer says selling Dungies directly to customers at the dock has helped boost the price from the low of $1.68 a pound for the summer season when the bulk of the crab is landed.

“There was definitely a few more boats selling off the dock which bumps the average price up a little bit. For the fall we had $1.91 so it was up a little bit from the summer.”

The average price for the 2019 season was $3.07 per pound.  Dungeness crab weigh about two pounds on average.

Still, combined with the summer Dungeness fishery which came in at just under 6 million pounds, it adds up to a near record catch for 2020.

“With the fall season, what we have entered so far, we’re at almost 6.7 million pounds which is the second highest season on record.”

Southeast’s  highest Dungeness catch ever was 7.3 million pounds in 2002.

The most valuable was last year at $16.3 million to fishermen on a 5.3 million pound harvest.

Up next for Southeast will be Tanners and golden king crab which open in mid-February.

A king and Tanner crab task force meeting from 1-5pm this afternoon (Friday) will give an assessment of the Southeast crab stocks and management outlooks for 2021. The virtual meeting is linked on Zoom.