CDQ crab fishery opens in Norton Sound

In the wake of a fast moving winter commercial king crab fishery, the community development quota for red king crab in Norton Sound opened on Feb. 28, to allow crabbers registered for the CDQ to continue fishing past March 2.

Biologists at the Nome office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reminded crab CDQ permit holders that those who wish to fish the CDQ fishery but who have not yet received their card in the mail to apply for an immediate fishing permit, at a cost of $80 payable to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.

The CDQ allocation for Norton Sound is up to 37,260 pounds of red king crab.

Half of that allocation belongs to Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., an entity also working to obtain the remaining quota for its resident fishermen.

Under NSEDC’s policies, commercial fishing for CDQ crab is open to any harvester 18 years or older who qualifies s a Norton Sound resident under NSEDC’s residency policy, can obtain a CDQ gear permit card, and signs the 2017 NSEDC Norton Sound Red King Crab Fisherman’s Agreement and NSEDC Residency Verification forms.

The red king crab guideline harvest level for the Norton Sound winter commercial fishery was 39,744 pounds, of which 27,600 pounds had been harvested through Feb. 28, the day the CDQ fishery opened.

ADF&G biologists said that based on that catch rate and the good weather forecast, they anticipated that the guideline harvest level would be reached by March 2.

Permit holders, including all catcher-sellers, had until 9 p.m. on March 2 to deliver crab to buyers. Those crabbers not registered for the CDQ fishery were advised that they had to remove bait containers from crab pots and have those pot doors secured by 4 p.m. on March 2.