Southeast crabbers hauling in big Dungie catch

It’s been a big summer season for commercial Dungeness crabbing in Southeast Alaska with a big harvest, a high price and a bump in crab boat numbers in the Panhandle.
 
That’s a turnaround from last year’s summer season, which was shortened by one week for the first time ever, due to low catches. It’s not the case this year. The fleet will have a full two-month summer season and is already close to surpassing the 2013 catch for the combined summer and fall seasons.
 
Crabbing time is set based on catches in the first week in mid June. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game uses that first week’s catch to estimate the total season harvest. Joe Stratman is department’s lead crab biologist for the region.
 
“This season the initial full season harvest estimate is 6.46 million pounds, which is the largest full season harvest estimate ever produced,” Stratman said. “Pounds landed in the first week of the fishery, included in this estimate, were 1,077,000 pounds by 150 permits.”
 
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