Sea cucumber fishing is winding down for commercial divers in Southeast Alaska. There is another opening Monday but the fleet is very close to reaching its overall quota and boats have begun calling it quits. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is reporting a catch of just over one-million, four-hundred and sixty-four thousand pounds to date.
“We have about a million and a half pounds harvested. That includes some areas that went over their GHL’s a little bit so there’s still approximately 70 thousand pounds in the Ketchikan area to be harvested and a little bit left in the Juneau area,” says Justin Breese, Assistant Area Management Biologist in Ketchikan.
Divers get short, weekly openings to target cucumbers. Each fishing area is closed once the fleet reaches the guideline harvest level or GHL there. The first opening was October 7th.
Breese say this year’s cucumber price has averaged around five dollars a pound, “Which is pretty good and it drew quite a few people out and that’s one of the reasons a lot of some of the smaller areas got more effort than they were anticipating in several different smaller areas.”
Nearly 200 divers have participated in this year’s sea cucumber fishery.