Southeast Alaska crabbing seasons start Wednesday

Tanner crab (Photo courtesy ADF&G)
Tanner crab (Photo courtesy ADF&G)

Two crab fisheries in Southeast Alaska started up Wednesday, February 17. Fishing for Tanner crab and golden king crab opened at noon.

Last year’s Tanner catch was the best in 15 seasons, coming in at 1,421,863 pounds. With an average price of $1.93 a pound that was worth over $2.7 million at the docks.

In recent years, more than 50 boats have fished for Tanner crab, using pots. This year there are 61 boats registered. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game set the season length Wednesday morning.

The most popular “core” will be open seven days, until noon on Wednesday, February 24. The remaining “non-core” areas are open a total of 12 days, until noon on Monday, February 29.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s estimate of the amount of legal-size male Tanner crab in the region is up this year, to just under 5.7 million pounds.

The golden king crab season starts at the same time. Some boats fish for just one or the other, while other permit holders opt to start with Tanner and then switch to king crab.

The region-wide Guideline Harvest Level for golden king crab is 155,000 pounds, with GHLs set in seven different management areas.

The fishery is managed in-season, and areas are closed once the catch has reached an area’s GHL. That can take weeks or months, depending on the effort.

Last year the total golden king catch was 129,822 pounds, with an average of $12.10 a pound. That made last year’s catch worth $1,570,846 at the docks. The crab season start has had a delay due to bad weather in past seasons. That won’t be the case this year.