The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced the winter personal use red and blue king crab season in Section 11-A that opened on Jan. 1 will close at 11:59 p.m. Feb. 6.
Section 11-A extends from east and south of Little Island to a line between Point Arden and Point Bishop, and includes Favorite Channel, Saginaw Channel, Gastineau Channel and the backside of Douglas Island.
Returned permits, survey responses and phone reports indicate that the quota of 298 crab allocated to the fishery will be harvested by the time of the closure.
According to Al Tingley, ADF&G section 11-A manager for the red and blue king crab personal use fishery, the 2010 summer survey allowed for a small opening featuring a harvest of two crab per household. About 3,000 permits fished and due to weather and the holiday opening of July 1-5 it worked from a management perspective.
“Those people who really wanted to go out and catch their two crab went out and got them,” Tingley said. “We came in just at the harvest level. We are really thankful to give the public the opportunity to get out there crabbing.”
Normally the winter fishery would start Oct. 1, but it was delayed until after Christmas.
“The rational was that we had a low quota and the Board of Fish intent was to allow divers an opportunity in the fishery,” Tingley said.
Tingley said he aimed for a time frame that would be a little more “uncomfortable” for the pot and ring fishers and give the divers a chance to get at the crab.
With the winter fishery about to close, Tingley said he again tried to make the fishery enjoyable, but also as hard as possible to be overfished.
The quota was one crab per day per household.
“The intent was that if you really wanted crab you really had to make the effort to go out and get them,” Tingley said. “There are a lot of users in Juneau and not a whole lot of crab to be taken this time around.”
Tingley stated that public participation in the reporting process, phoning in harvest information and responses to e-mail surveys were a contributing factor in the successful prosecution of the fishery.
“From the department’s perspective it went really well,” Tingley said. “It couldn’t happen without that support from the public. We are glad we are able to present this opportunity for folks.”
All fishing gear directed at the red and blue king crab in Section 11-A must be out of the water by the time of the closure. Permits can be mailed back after the closure and must be returned no later than April 15, 2011.
The decades-long red and blue king crab personal use fishery has always been a popular Juneau resource and a debate among personal use and commercial crabbers.
The 2006 quota was 20 crabs per household and the winter of ‘06 was six crabs per household. The personal use red and blue king crab season had been closed since the summer of 2007 after catch numbers called for a quick closure after two weeks. There was not a winter fishery from 2007-09.
Another June survey will determine a July opening in 2011.
• Contact Klas Stolpe at
523-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.