SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh
Southeast Alaska’s Dungeness crab fishery harvest is so far falling short of last year’s take but is still trending well above the fishery’s five-year-average.
Dungeness fishing in Alaska’s Southeast fishing region commenced on June 15th. The ADF&G uses the first seven days of the fishery’s harvest as a barometer to gauge the rest of the season’s performance.
This year, Alaska’s Dungeness fishermen pulled in 838,000 pounds in the first seven days. This was down over 200,000 pounds from last season’s first seven day take, which eclipsed 1 million pounds. The ADF&G also reported YTD landings through July at about 1.79 million pounds, about 40 percent short of the catch at this time last year.
However, this year’s Dungeness catch was still well above the historical five-year-average for the first seven-day landing period, which is 652,000 pounds. This season’s total was also higher than the 10-year-average of 664,000 pounds.
There is no quota set for the Southeast Dungeness catch, though last year the first seven-day haul represented about 21 percent of the 2014 fishery’s 5 million pound haul. Historically, the first-seven-day haul has represented 20 percent of the Dungeness take according to the ADF&G’s five-year-average.
It should also be noted that the fishing effort is higher this year compared to last season. This year 169 permit holders started the season compared to 150 permitted boats last year. These efforts were each well above the five-year-average of 139 permit holders to begin a season. Still the ADF&G did note that seasons in the 1990s and early 2000s saw more robust fishing activity.
Indications are that fishermen jumped at the chance to fish for Dungeness this season after the successful 2014 campaign that produced strong landings and higher prices. The ADF&G estimated last season’s Alaskan Dungeness catch value at nearly $15 million nearly triple the previous season’s value. The per-pound-price of $2.95 was 16 percent higher over the 2013 season.
Reprinted with permission by SeafoodNews.com, www.seafoodnews.com