On the eve of Alaska’s commercial crab fisheries season, prices for Bristol Bay red king crab in particular were still unknown but expected to be high, considering the demand and reduced allowable harvest. University of Alaska fisheries economist Gunnar Knapp noted that the combination of limited supply and the growing strength of the yen against the dollar indicated higher prices, while the quota on the red king crab had been slashed by 47 percent. “Any time you have that kind of cut in the quota you will have a price squeeze that will drive the price up,” he said. Rob George of “The Crab Broker” in Las Vegas said he’ll be happy to lock in on 450,000 pounds of red king crab clusters this year, as opposed to just over one million pounds a year ago.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has set total allowable catch for Bristol Bay red king crab this year to a total of 7.8 million pounds, including 7,050,600 pounds for individual fishing quotas and 783,400 pounds for community development quota participants. A year ago the total allowable catch included 13.4 million pounds for the IFQ program and 1.5 million pounds for the CDQ program.
Preseason registration showed 81 vessels signed up for king crab and 83 for snow crab, compared to 84 last year for king crab and 85 for snow crab.
The individual fishing quota catch for snow crab is 80,004,600 pounds, up from 48.9 million pounds a year ago. The community development quota share is 8,889,400 pounds, up from 5.4 million a year ago, with the total standing at 88.9 million pounds, up from 54.3 million a year ago.