Commercial crabbers in Southeast Alaska will have a full two-month summer season for Dungeness crab again this year, based on another strong start to the season.
It’s not as large as last year’s haul. But the catch from the first week of the fishery has topped 960,000 pounds and is expected to increase with additional landings from that first week still to be tallied.
Effort is down substantially. Only 119 permit holders landed crab in that first week, compared to 170 in that first week last year. The recent average is 147 permit holders landing crab.
The average price has also dropped from last year. It’s around $1.72 a pound compared to $2.97 a pound in 2019.
The season length is based on the catch from the first week. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that the total season catch will come in around 4.33 million pounds. That’s above the two and quarter million pound threshold for a full season. Fishing started June 15 and runs through August 15. There’s also a two-month fall season.
The season has only been shortened twice based on low catches, in 2013 and 2017.
At over five million pounds, last year’s total catch was the third highest on record. It set the bar for value though, worth over 16 million dollars at the docks. The first week of fishing in 2019 yielded 1.4 million pounds.