This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Southeast crab questions answered. Hear more after this…
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The Southeast Tanner and golden king crab season open last week. A bad weather forecast on the fishing grounds kept fishermen docked a few days after the February 10th opener. Joe Stratmen is an Alaska Department  of Fish and Game crab biologist in Petersburg Alaska. Stratmen  explains.
“We have weather delay criteria in regulation for tanner and king crab fisheries in South East. If we have winds thirty-five knots or higher on the national weather service forecast the day before and the day the fisheries starts we can delay the season 24 hours.”
The weather cleared and the season opened on the 12th at noon. Another determining factor for the seasons opener are the tides.
“The start date in regulation in both Tanner and Golden king crab is defined as the day with the smallest Juneau tidal range between February 10th and February 17th . The reason for it is, is to allow fishermen to start on small tides.”
Though both fisheries kick of on the same day, they are managed much differently. Southeast Tanners are fished by harvest strategy with a threshold of 2.3 million pounds.
“So our mature male abundance estimate from our last survey was 4 million pounds so we are way above the 2.3 million pound threshold so we are fishing.”
The harvest strategy allows for a minimum of five days of fishing, but depending on the number of pots registered for the tanner season additional days can be added.
“So this year we will have a six-day season in the core areas and an eleven day season in the non core areas. It’s pretty quick so we don’t really manage in season. The harvest strategy sets a season length pre season and then they get what they get.”
59 limited entry pot boats are registered and 29 are ring net boats that fish open access. The value for Tanners in 2013 was just under 3 million. As for the Southeast golden kings it has GHL. and is managed daily.
“For golden king crab the region wide number is 495,00 pounds for this season.”
The harvest is divided among seven different fishing areas. 36 boats are registered to fish. The Southeast golden king crab fishery was valued at over 5 million for the 2013 season. Southeast has the only open Tanner season in the Gulf with the closure in Kodiak and further west. Crabbing continues in the Bering Sea Golden , Snow crab and Tanners.

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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 101 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities.  In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.