A unique fishery is offered in Homer for the first time, tanner crabs from small boat operators around Kodiak Island in a move meant to connect consumers directly to fishermen.
“You seldom see these available here, the biggest opilio crab caught. It really is meant to help out the small boat guys who do this little fishery in a sustainable way and subscribe to a conservation ethic,” said Pete Wedin, a board member of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.
The council is offering Kodiak Tanner crab from a program called CATCH of the SEASON. It is modeled after a Community Supported Fishery and is the only one of its kind in the Anchorage area.
Individuals can pre-purchase boxes of the crab sustainably harvested by local fishermen and pick them up after the crab has been harvested. This is the third year AMCC has carried out the Kodiak crab program. This is the first time Homer will be included in the list of locations for pickup of crab boxes. All proceeds from the program benefit the work of AMCC in Kodiak and fishermen that participate in the program get a higher price for their catch than they would otherwise.
AMCC Executive Director Kelly Harrell said this crab is typically marketed as snow crab. Tanner crab is known for its sweet and rich flavor. Yet, Kodiak bairdi tanner crab are larger and meatier relatives of the more well-known opilio crab harvested in the Bering Sea and Canada.
The carefully managed Kodiak tanner crab fishery only occurs once a year during a short winter season that begins Jan. 15.
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