Dutch Harbor Update | When Hell Freezes Over, Again!
Ice conditions that slowed the Bering Sea snow crab fishery, then eased up, were taking their toll again in early March as the ice moved back in, prompting boats that continued to fish to pull their pots when making deliveries to processors.
Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at Dutch Harbor said that as of March 7 the fleet had harvested about 44 million pounds of the 88.9 million pounds allotted for snow crab harvests this season. Last year the fleet had a quota of 54.2 million pounds.
The ice came in to the area of the St. Paul Harbor in February, then receded and fishing activity was going strong through the last week of February, when the ice came back in again and fishermen started pulling their gear, state biologists at Dutch Harbor said.
Of the 61 vessels registered, a dozen had pulled their pots and were not fishing at all because of the ice edge as of March 7, while others were pulling their pots to make deliveries to processors and then resetting them, biologists said.
The crab is being purchased by Trident Seafoods at St. Paul and Alyeska Seafoods, Bering Fisheries, Icicle Seafoods, Unisea and Westward Seafoods at Dutch Harbor.
Prices were reportedly at about $1.88 a pound early in the fishery.
State fisheries officials also have received requests to extend the time limit on the fishery because of ice issues, but said they are still hoping the harvest can be completed within the allotted time. The eastern sub-district of the snow crab fishery runs through May 15, and the western sub-district through May 30.
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