AK Board of Fisheries Allows Commercial Crabbing to Continue, Sets Limits for Summer Season

Norton Sound red king crab. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM

During the latest Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting, the Board decided to close the Norton Sound Red King Crab commercial fishery for the summer, but only to a certain longitude.

Earlier this month, [March 8th-10th] four Northern Norton Sound Advisory Committee proposals were on the agenda for the Board of Fisheries. The first was originally written to change the earliest possible start date for future winter commercial crab fishing, in the Norton Sound, to February 1st.

But the state body of seven representatives decided to make an amendment to that proposal and close the summer commercial crab season. However, the proposal only closes the Norton Sound area east of 167 degrees West longitude to commercial crabbing in the summer of 2020.

That amendment passed by a vote of six in favor with one against.

In addition to that measure, the Alaska Board of Fisheries limited the number of crab pot tags per permit holder to 20. The Board also has authorized a person or fisher to participate in the crab fishery after also fishing in the Norton Sound area for commercial Pacific cod. Following an amendment, Pacific cod fishers can now operate pots up to 7 days prior to the start of the Norton Sound red king crab fishery.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game released their announcement on the Board’s decisions Friday morning. Currently, the 2020 winter Norton Sound Red King crab commercial fishery remains open and ADF&G says that has not been affected by the Board of Fisheries’ latest meeting.

Image at top: Norton Sound red king crab. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM