Snow crab gets slow start
The Bering Sea snow crab fishery officially opens in mid-October with a slow pace but it from mid-January it gets momentum.
The authority has taken some measures to deal with the slow start of the snow crab season in the Bering Sea. Forrest Bowers, state fishery manager, said that low cod prices were expected to prompt more boats to target snow crab during the early weeks of the season. But encroaching sea ice is getting things off to a slow start all â€˜round. Bowers explained that snow crab fishery has total 39 registered vessels and some people that normally fish cod are on the fence about whether to fish cod or crab. He added that other concern is that there is quite a bit of sea ice forming in the northern Bering Sea and ice in St. Paul harbor. So that is another factor that is influencing decisions by fishermen. The government is now deciding the new 'rationalized' quota share management plan that requires a portion of all deliveries must be made in specific regions, and the bulk of the northern crab catch is earmarked for St. Paul. Bowers told that the longer season means fishermen aren't forced to compete with the sea ice that is now plugging the harbor. He further said that the season runs from Oct. 15 through May so there is ample opportunity to harvest the crab and deliver in the north region when weather and ice conditions allow for it. Forrest Bowers told that up to 70 vessels will likely fish for snow crab and boats are leaving Dutch Harbor every day. The total catch quota is 58 million pounds, a decrease of 7 percent.
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