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Opilio Crab Fishermen Race Bering Sea Ice #AlaskaCrab


Published: January 7th, 2012 09:28 PM
Last Modified: January 7th, 2012 10:00 PM

The Bering Sea snow crab fishery is picking up earlier than usual as the fleet scrambles to pull up the catch before encroaching sea ice shuts them down. About 25 boats are out so far, soon to be joined by 60 or so more, with a weather forecast calling for frigid weather and high winds.

Although the fishery opens by regulation Oct. 15, most crabbers usually wait until mid-January to begin dropping pots. The snow crab catch quota was boosted 64 percent this season to nearly 80 million pounds. Boats left the dock without settling on a price, and the increased supply is depressing the market.

"The problem we have in the snow crab market is that before the catch share program began in 2005, the fishery started on the 15th of January, so that is when the market formed, and negotiations were typically done about a week before. Although the fishery has been starting earlier and earlier, negotiations are still.......