After a 2012 Bering Sea snow crab season that saw unusually severe sea ice inhibit fishermen's efforts to catch almost 89 million pounds of the shellfish, 2013 is shaping up to be much friendlier.
According to Kathleen Cole, a forecaster with the National Weather Service ice desk, this winter was unlikely to match 2012, even before it began. Despite some recent rumors of encroaching ice into the Bering Sea fishery, the situation is better than last year, she said.
"We're just not going to have a year like last year. It's going to be, by no means, that bad," she said. "Last year was something that we'd never seen before, and hopefully something that we'll never see again."
The snow crab fishery season officially begins Oct. 15, but it doesn't really pick up until after the Bering Sea king crab fishery meets its quota, said Chuck Trebesch, a fisheries biologist in Dutch Harbor. The snow crab season continues until either the quota is met or it closes May 15.
By Tuesday, crabbers had already pulled in about 40 percent of this year's quota of about 66 million pounds, which is about 22 million pounds less than last year's maximum catch. Trebesch said the catch was "on pace."
Despite last year's larger quota, it was a tough season for crabbers as sea ice moved into the Bering Sea fishery grounds during January, clogging waterways and threatening already-deployed crab pots. It got so bad for so long that Fish and Game offered to extend the season, which stretched into June. Trebesch said that "it's too early to make any statements" on whether another extension might be needed this season.
While rumors of another bad ice year are, so far, unfounded, it doesn't mean ice isn't a factor, said Cole.
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Callifornia crabbing: Here's a fun video shot on the decks of the Majestik while catching Dungeness crab off the coast of northern California.
Over 500 lots of seafood processing equipment formerly owned by Adak Seafood will be sold at auction on Tuesday, June 18, starting at 10 a.m. Hawaiian-Aleutian Daylight Time at the Hilton Garden Inn in Anchorage Alaska.
The equipment is located in a recently updated 250,000 square foot state-of-the-art processing facility in Adak, Alaska. Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Hilco Industrial, which conducts 75 machinery and equipment auctions in a wide range of industries annually, will conduct the auction.
Adak Seafood opened originally as Ada Fisheries in Anchorage in 1986. The facility, updated in 2005, is located on the island of Adak, the southernmost city in Alaska near the western end of the Aleutian Islands. The facility processed cod primarily, as well as halibut, blackcod, crab and pollock, Hilco says.
Alaska fisherman and commercial fisheries activist Kevin Adams was elected chairman at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors meeting on May 9 in Anchorage.
The governor-appointed board consists of seven members: five seafood processors and two industry representatives actively engaged in commercial fishing. Adams was appointed to fill a harvester seat by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004.
With 38 years of fishing experience in Bristol Bay, Adams has long been an active member in the Alaska fishing industry, ASMI says. He has worked for both the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and the Bering Sea Fisherman's Association, and represents Alaska fishermen on numerous boards.