Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Move over, salmon, here come the Dungies!

Somebody pass the butter, please? ASMI photo

Commercial salmon fisheries are now open all along the coast, from Southeast Alaska to the Copper River to Lower Cook Inlet to Kodiak to Chignik to Bristol Bay.

But salmon isn't the only game in town.

At noon tomorrow, the 2011-12 Dungeness crab season opens in Southeast. Here's the announcement.

Adam Messmer, a state fishery manager in Juneau, tells Deckboss 126 permit holders have signed for the Dungeness harvest so far.

Dungeness, like salmon, long has been a target of Alaska commercial fishermen. The crab was first commercially canned at Seldovia in 1920, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game species profile says.

Dungies typically are caught in circular pots baited with herring, squid or clams.

Commonly served whole, the Dungeness crab is "treasured for its beautiful orange shell color, distinctive sweet flavor and tender flaky white meat," the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute says.

Southeast Dungeness is quite a valuable crop.

The 2010-11 season produced a harvest of nearly 3.25 million pounds, worth more than $5.5 million at an average price of $1.78 per pound.

Most of the catch comes in the summer segment of the fishery, which is the part that opens tomorrow. A fall segment opens Oct. 1.

The Dungeness stock is in good shape in Southeast, Messmer says.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said up the coast at Yakutat. The Dungeness fishery there has been closed for the past 11 seasons due to weak stocks, and it'll remain closed this season.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, the southeast Dungeness fishery is being ruined by sea otter predation. We have lost many very productive areas to this rapidly expanding population of shellfish preditors. Large areas of Sumner straits, Chatham straits, Icy straits, and Frederic sound that once produced large volumes of crabs are no longer fished due to otter predation. This has concentraited the fleet into areas where otters haven't moved in, condensing the commercial fleet, which in turn affects subsistence and sport users. With a growth rate of 13% per year, this fishery will be just about done in the next ten.

off2fish said...

They are really the locusts of the sea. Gorging on anything edible and then moving on to the next clam beds or crab grounds.
The rafts of them in Kachemak Bay and PWS are getting huge. People think they are cute until they realize their favorite clamming beach is nothing but broken shells and the personal use fisheries for crab are shut down.

Anonymous said...

i have watched hundreds of otters for years work over clam beach next to my cabin. Each full grown otter requires about one bucket of clams a day. You do not have to be rocket scientist to figure why most of the clams are gone.

Only political correct biologist would blame it on something else.