Destination fundraiser to be held at Rat Saloon
The Bering Sea snow crab fishery was marred by tragedy in February, with the sinking of the Destination, and the loss of all six crewmembers. A fundraiser for their families is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at the Norwegian Rat Saloon in Unalaska, with a bell ringing ceremony, a water pong tournament, and an auction of prizes donated by fishing boats, seafood processing companies, local businesses, and the Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau.
The snow crab fishery is nearly over, with 92 percent of the quota harvested on Monday, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Unalaska. Of the 60 boats that launched crab pots during the season, just 17 were still fishing earlier this week.
The fleet had landed 19.9 million pounds of the little crustaceans with an average weight of 1.3 pounds. Snow crab are also known as opilio, or opies.
The average number of crab per pot, known as catch per unit of effort or CPUE, was 95 last week, "still real low," according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Ethan Nichols.
In the state-waters Dutch Harbor Cod fishery, with a 33.7 million pound quota, 19.2 million pounds had been landed as of Monday, with 14.5 million pounds still in the water, according to Nichols, reporting a CPUE of 232 pounds per pot last week, and an average per-vessel catch of 28.6 thousand pounds. He said 20 small boats were targeting the finfish in the fishery limited to vessels with lengths of 58 feet or less. Nearly all are 58 feet, the maximum length allowed for salmon, which they pursue in summer months.
In the western district golden king crab fishery in the Aleutian Islands, just one boat was still fishing earlier this week, with 2 million pounds or 90 percent of the quota landed in the fishery where three vessels comprised the entire fleet. The other two boats have already checked out of the fishery.
In the federally-managed pollock A season fishery in the Bering Sea, pollock trawlers delivering inshore had caught 127,955 metric tons through March 4, for 48 percent of the quota of 265,790 metric tons. Factory trawlers had harvested 115,509 metric tons for 55 percent of the quota of 209,392 mt.; the mothership pollock sector had processed 26,508 metric tons for 51 percent of the quota of 52,348 mt. In the pollock community development quota fishery, the total catch is 47,155 metric tons for 77 percent of the 61,389 mt quota.
Jim Paulin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org