Alaska Glacier Seafoods Inc. saw a chance to come out a big winner in Vancouver, British Columbia, site of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.
All the Juneau-based processor needed was a little help from the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
But the board rejected the company's plea during a work session this month in Anchorage. Here's the details:
Alaska Glacier told the board it markets roughly half of the Southeast golden king crab catch each season, with most of it sold in Vancouver.
The Winter Olympics presents an exceptional opportunity to sell fresh, live crab.
But timing of the games is a problem.
The Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 12-28, while the crab fishery will start sometime between Feb. 10 and 17, depending on the tides.
That means Alaska Glacier's crab won't arrive in Vancouver for the most part until after the games are over.
"This will create a very adverse marketing situation," Alaska Glacier's president, Mike Erickson, told the board. "Our Vancouver buyers expect a major drop-off in restaurant spending following the expected very high sales during the Olympics."
Selling into that down market could mean crab fishermen will earn a subpar $2.50 to $3 a pound at the docks, versus the potential $5.35 for golden king crab delivered in time for the Olympics, Erickson said.
So, Alaska Glacier proposed opening the 2010 season, and only the 2010 season, three weeks earlier than usual.
The board didn't act directly on that idea.
Rather, the question at the work session was whether the board would add Alaska Glacier's proposal to the agenda of the Dec. 1-8 board meeting on Bristol Bay salmon issues. The board otherwise isn't scheduled to consider Southeast crab proposals again until 2012.
In the end, the board declined to grant Alaska Glacier's agenda change request, finding it didn't meet strict policy requirements for such changes.