Tanner crab fishery open through March 31

F/V Ace deckhand Robert Bernard talks with Trident Seafoods employees while putting Tanner crab into totes in Cordova, AK on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times

A second Tanner crab fishery for the eastern and western districts of Prince William Sound since 1988 is off and running through March 31, with fishermen facing a weather front moving in promising snow, rain and high seas.

The season opened on March 1.

National Weather Service forecasters in Anchorage said on March 6 that a weather front was anticipated to push through Prince William Sound on the evening of March 7, brining nine-foot seas and southeast winds at 35 knots. That front was expected to continue increasing through March 8, then slowly decrease, with a mix of snow, then rain and snow and finally rain.

The fishery is being monitored closely with mandatory daily call-ins, as specified on the commissioner’s permit fishery, and the fishery could close early by emergency order.

No information on the number of participating vessels was immediately available.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists note that during the 2018 season daily call-ins were also mandatory, but that compliance was low. If harvesters do not adhere to daily call-ins, management would be conservative and enforcement action will be taken, they said.

Regulations allow for a maximum of 25 pots to be operated by each vessel with required pot tags, and permit holders are required to check in with ADF&G Homer staff prior to each of their fishing trips.

ADF&G reminded fishermen that Prince William Sound is a super-exclusive registration area for Tanner crab and in order to participate a valid 2019 Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission interim-use permit card for Prince William Sound Tanner crab is required.

Last March attracted more than a dozen boats, who harvested some 82,000 pounds of crab weighing in on average at under two pounds.

A bucket of Tanner crab raises from the fish hold on the F/V Ace in Cordova, AK on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times