Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. board members have voted to resume purchases of Norton Sound red king crab this summer.
The decision comes after two years of decreased fishing pressure and the maturing of a new cohort of crab. The NSEDC board said data now indicates that crab populations have rebounded to a level that allows for responsible harvest.
An Alaska Department of Fish and Game 2021 summer trawl survey, which provides essential data for establishing crab harvest guidelines, showed a significant pulse of legal sized male crab moving into the fishery and reports of productive winter subsistence fishing appears to support that finding.
NSEDC Board Chairman Frank Katchatag said it had been very difficult to see their commercial harvesters sidelines for the last two years to allow red king crab fishery to recover. He thanked the fishermen for their foresight, support and sacrifice in allowing stocks to rebuild for both subsistence and commercial harvest.
The summer commercial red king crab fishery typically begins at the end of June or early July. As the season progresses, NSEDC closely monitors harvests and works with stakeholders to ensure that the fishery remains sustainable.