The Bristol Bay red king crab season got off to a late start, but it’s wrapping up in line with past seasons.
The season opened four days later than planned — Oct. 19 — after the shutdown of the federal government delayed its regular Oct. 15 start. Despite losing four days to Congressional stumbles, the last bit of the 7.74 million-pound quota was pulled Nov. 15.
In 2010, the latest year for which statistics are readily available, fishermen pulled more than 95 percent of the king crab quota by Nov. 20. That year, the harvest exceeded 13.3 million pounds.
Alaska crab is valued around the world, and there were concerns that the late start to the season would hamper deliveries in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because fishermen were able to reach their quota quickly, the delay is expected to have less of an impact.
Bristol Bay kings and Bering Sea snow crab together make up more than three-quarters of Alaska’s annual crab harvest.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, 253 vessel landings were reported, up from 221 in 2012.
After a break for the holiday season, crabbers will return to the Bering Sea for snow crab season. The quota this year has been set at 45.58 million pounds.
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