All along the Pacific coast, Dungeness crab fisheries are booming and Kodiak is no exception. Since May, a fleet of 13 boats has doubled last year’s catch.

“We are currently in Kodiak and harvest is at 1.2 million, we’re certainly I think on track to break 1.3 million pounds this year. if not more.”

Nat Nichols is area manager for the Westward Region at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game office in Kodiak.

He said there were indications last year that the Dungeness haul would be strong in 2019.

“And we knew that this year was going to be good just based on reports from last year from the fishery, about how many crab were being discarded for being just short of legal. We knew that there was, a big year class of small crab that were going to recruit to the fishery here shortly. And they seem to have done that this year.”

Good Dungeness catches at Chignik and the South Peninsula have topped 400,000 pounds.

“This trend is not specific to Kodiak, it seems to be not only through the western Gulf but also Southeast and British Columbia seem to be having good years as well.”

Abundance of crab is quite cyclical, Nichols says, and at least for the short term, the outlook for Dungies appears good.

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“It seems like when we get these pulses of crab coming through that they last for a season or three. So I guess I have hopes that the fishing we’re experiencing this year may carry on into next year. I think that what I’ve heard from some of the members of the fleet is that they’re still seeing small measuring crab and that  we may have a few more good seasons here in front of us before this cohort of crab move out of the population. So that’s something to look forward to.”

Fishermen are reportedly getting $2.60 to $275 a pound for their crab. The region’s Dungeness season ends on October 31.

Local crabbers also are keeping their fingers crossed for a Tanner crab opener in mid-January. An announcement on Tanners will be made in early November.

 

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