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Snow crab are going slow

March 4th | Jim Paulin, The Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fisherman Print this article   Email this article  

Fishermen are having the toughest time in the past five years finding snow crab, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in Unalaska.

The fleet of 60 crab boats had caught 16. 6 million pounds, for 74 percent of the quota in the Bering Sea, ADF&G biologist Ethan Nichols in Unalaska said Monday.

But based on the number of crab in an average pot, the catch has plummeted from a peak of 237 to 116 in the most recent weekly tally, he said. The average weight is 1.3 pounds per individual snow crab, he said.

In the Dutch Harbor small boat cod fishery, with 23 boats 58 feet or shorter fishing, which opened Feb. 9, fishermen had landed 7.8 million pounds from the quota of 33.7 million pounds. That fishery is going well, and landings are expected to increase soon as the cod move closer to shore for spawning, he said. The small boat cod fishery, now in its fourth year, is limited to state waters three miles from shore. Nearly all the boats are 58 feet long, he said.

In the western district golden king crab fishery, three vessels have harvested 1.9 million pounds, for 85 percent of the 2.2 million pound quota. The average weight per golden king crab is 4.78 pounds.

 

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