Red king crab catch complete in Bristol Bay

Commercial harvesters brought in 6,588,452 pounds of Bristol Bay red king crab in a season that concluded in mid-November, close enough to the 6,601,000-pound-quota to declare the harvest 100 percent caught, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

A total of 61 boats were registered for the fishery and harvest results were about what we anticipated, said Miranda Westphal, the state’s area management biologist at Dutch Harbor.

That harvest weighed in on average at 6.8 pounds, up from 6.6 pounds in the most recent harvests.

Commercial fishermen were having a hard time finding the crab and the crab were a little bit further into the Bay, which could have been a response to ocean temperatures or where their food was available, Westphal said.

The 15 vessels registered have harvested about half of the 2,500,200-pound-quota of Western Bering Sea Tanner crab, but most of those boats are taking a break for the holidays, and are expected back out in January, she said.

That crab fishery was closed a year ago. Anecdotal information is that harvesters were seeing almost exclusively old shell crab, she said.

In the snow crab fishery, no significant harvests have been reported to date. There is an 18,961,000 total allowable catch for the 2017-18 snow crab fishery.