Pollock and crab seasons starting up in Alaska

Freezing February weather in the U.S. state of Alaska hasn’t kept fishermen off fishing grounds from Southeast to Norton Sound.

In the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, boats are pulling in pollock, cod, flounder, and other groundfish.

More than three billion pounds of pollock will come out of the Bering Sea this year, and another 250 million pounds from the Gulf of Alaska. And Prince William Sound also has a winter pollock fishery that will produce nearly five million pounds of fish.

Crabbers are also busy, with many fisheries underway or soon to be opened. Bering Sea crabbers have taken about 17 percent of their 40.5 million pound snow crab harvest, and 30 percent of a Tanner crab harvest of just over two million pounds. The golden king crab catch was nearing five million pounds out of a six-million-pound quota this month.

A red king crab fishery opened in Norton Sound on 1 February. Fewer international buyers mean more of the crab will be sold to eager locals.

A Tanner crab fishery also will open at Prince William Sound for one month by special permit starting 1 March.

Southeast Alaska’s Tanner and golden king crab fisheries open on 17 February. A million pounds or more could come out of the Tanner fishery from 75 crabbers. For goldens, 14 crabbers are expected to drop pots for a 76,500-pound limit.

Also at the Panhandle, fishing continues for black rockfish and ling cod.

About 150 divers are finishing up a 1.7-million-pound sea cucumber harvest, and 50 more are still going down for over 500,000 pounds of geoduck clams.

The Pacific halibut season starts on 6 March and runs through 7 December.

Reporting by Laine Welch

Photo courtesy of Global Seas


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