Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Diving for dollars

Giant red sea cucumber. Photo by Eric Munk, NMFS Kodiak

Alaska's commercial fishing industry really doesn't have an off-season. Somebody is trying to catch something most all the time.

This month, for instance, a number of specialized commercial fisheries are opening.

Most of them involve divers going to the bottom to collect odd creatures that, frankly, aren't much in demand in the United States but command good money in Asia.

Here's a rundown of the action:

• The Southeast Alaska sea cucumber dive fishery opened Oct. 5 with a quota of almost 1.6 million pounds.

• The Southeast red sea urchin red sea urchin fishery opened Oct. 1 with a quota of almost 5.1 million pounds.

• The Southeast geoduck clam fishery opened Oct. 1 with a quota of 623,300 pounds.

• The Southeast pot shrimp fishery opened Oct. 1 with a quota of 692,400 pounds. Fishermen will be going after such species as spot and coonstripe shrimp.

• The Kodiak red sea cucumber fishery opened Oct. 1 with a quota of 140,000 pounds. Smaller quotas are available in the Chignik, Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea districts.

Deckboss would like to say he doesn't have much of a taste for sea cucumber or urchin, but he sure wouldn't turn down a box of those huge, luscious spot shrimp!

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