Five commercial fishers are currently registered to catch and sell roughly 31,000 pounds of Norton Sound red king crab. But there is no buyer for the winter commercial fishery, so crabbers must become catcher-sellers to market their catch.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council met on Feb. 9 and adopted the overfishing limit and allowable biological catch for Norton Sound red king crab.
The total allowable biological catch of 480,000 pounds includes both retained and discarded catch, making the retained portion of the allowable catch 450,000 pounds.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game set the total commercial harvest at 392,500 pounds for the year. Based on regulation, the guideline harvest level or GHL, for the winter commercial red king crab fishery is 8% of the roughly 400,000 pound limit.
Western Alaskans outside of Nome who are interested in commercial crabbing can call the Fish & Game office to receive crab pot tags before crabbing at 1(800)560-2271. ADF&G estimates legal male biomass of Norton Sound red king crab to be 4.36 million pounds.
Image at top: Norton Sound Crab. Photo courtesy of Adem Boeckmann (2019).