A longtime Kodiak family will bring red king crab to the docks for the first time in 20 years.
Alibi Seafoods will sell crab for $100 per crab at Pier 2 on Thursday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. or until they sell out.
The owner of Alibi Seafoods, Gabriel Prout, brought 350 live crab to sell at the docks. He and his family, who run the F/V Silver Spray, caught the crab.
This week will be Alibi Seafoods’ first time open for business. Prout, who founded Alibi Seafoods, aims to sell crab directly to consumers.
“People want this (king crab) and they can’t get it in the amounts that they want. The supply is below the demand,” Prout said. “I want to make (red king crab) available for the people of Kodiak to have access to it.”
Prout’s family, which works, runs and co-owns the F/V Silver Spray, has been in the crab fishing business for 40 years, starting with the patriarch of the family, Bill Prout, said Prout’s brother, Sterling Prout.
Sterling Prout has fished for crab since he was 17 years old and will run the boat once his father retires.
Their father runs and co-owns F/V Silver Spray. The vessel can hold 200 pots, 6,000 gallons of water, and 200,000 pounds of crab.
“We are going to make this an annual thing. Every year, as long as there is a (king crab) season,” Sterling Prout said, referring to the decreasing king crab numbers.
Their eventual goal is to have a live holding facility in Seattle and grow their business to sell to more individuals and restaurants. They also have plans to sell snow crab and Bairdi crab.
“I want to get away from the middle man,” Gabriel Prout said. “My model is vessel to table.”
Instead of selling to processors, the Prouts can make more money selling directly to consumers.
Although this is red king crab’s first landing to be sold at the docks since 2001, other species such as golden king crab and Dungeness crab have been sold at the docks in recent years.
Since the red king crab fishery was rationalized in 2015, the regulatory requirements have become more complicated to sell live Bering Sea crab at the dock, wrote Ethan Nichols, assistant area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in an email to the Kodiak Daily Mirror.
“Prior to rationalization, when the fisheries were open access, a vessel could simply purchase a (Fish and Game) catcher-seller permit and complete a paper fish ticket in order to sell their catch at the dock,” Nichols said.
Federal requirements for rationalized crab now include acquiring a registered crab receiver permit, submitting a crab monitoring plan, and registering an account in eLandings, the Interagency Electronic Reporting System, he said.
Most crab fishermen do not want to take the time to sell crab at the docks after working long hours to harvest the crabs, Sterling Prout said.
But the Prouts said they have a different mindset.
“If you take your time, you can make more money,” Sterling Prout said.
After spending the 18-hour days catching crab in this life-risking fishery and spending countless hours and money obtaining the proper business licenses, bonds and permits, the $100 price tag is a fair price, Gabriel Prout said.
Selling live crab at the dock is generally more common in smaller-scale, local fisheries, as opposed to the large-scale Bering Sea fisheries that occur primarily in federal waters.
Within 10 minutes of opening their sale on Wednesday, the Prouts had already made five sales.
“It’s a great deal. It’s a lot fresher and a lot better than others,” said one customer, Bart Rippey, referring to the frozen crab sold at the canneries.
Rippey advised people to cook the crab in saltwater, from the ocean, instead of fresh water to keep the crab’s taste.
Another customer seemed excited for the opportunity to buy live crab.
“No one ever sells crab. That’s why I moved to Kodiak five years ago,” said another customer, Steen Johnson. “I think every place on this island outta sell it.”