Tanner crab harvesters offered more fishing opportunity

A Tanner crab rests in a tote on the F/V Regalia at the airplane float in the Cordova Boat Harbor on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

Harvesters in the Prince William Sound Area Commissioner’s Permit tanner crab fishery are getting a season extension, to compensate for stormy weather conditions that kept them off the grounds for days.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, acknowledging the adverse conditions at sea, pushed the season’s end from March 31 to 11:59 p.m. on April 7, with the same 25 pot limit per vessel.

The agency is continuing to track daily harvest in all statistical areas and advising fishermen to monitor news releases for possible statistical area closures.

In order to provide fishing opportunity for prospecting in areas not yet explored, ADF&G area groundfish management biologist Jan Rumble said the Eastern District and the area of the Western District east of 148 degrees W longitude and south of Montague Island, and not including statistical area 475934 will be open from 12:01 a.m. on April 8 through 11:59 p.m. on April 17, with a pot limit of 40 pots per vessel. The season, area and gear may be adjusted by emergency order, depending on fishery performance, Rumble said.

Vessels will not be allowed to operate 40 pots in Prince William Sound prior to April 8, even if fishing in the area of the extension.

For harvesters who intend to operate up to 15 additional pots beginning April 8, additional pot tags will be available the first week of April at ADF&G offices in Cordova and Homer, or by appointment in Seward by contacting ADF&G in Homer.

Harvesters are reminded that all pot gear in the Western District west of 148 degrees W longitude and north of Montague Island must have all bait and bait containers removed by closure of the fishery in that area at 11:59 p.m. on April 7.

The extension is open only to harvesters who were registered for the fishery prior to the registration deadline. Each vessel is still required to make a daily call-in by 3 p.m. These harvesters are also asked to give ADF&G prior notice of landing at least eight hours before landing Tanner crab, to give ADF&G an opportunity to collect biological data from the harvest.