Kodiak Tanner crab fishery a wrap after 2 days!

Crabbers agreed to a higher price than last season.

by | January 16, 2024

Price agreements let the season start on schedule

UPDATE: ADF&G announced the closure of the three Kodiak fishing districts on Wednesday, Jan. 17 when all harvests were expected to be reached.

A fleet of 135 boats dropped pots for Tanner crab at Kodiak and 31 at the Alaska Peninsula for the fishery that began at noon on January 15. That compares to 133 Kodiak boats and 50 from the Peninsula last season.

The harvest could yield a total of 3.48 million pounds of Tanners: three million for Kodiak crabbers coming from three regions around the island and the remainder from Alaska Peninsula crabbers. The Chignik area fishery is closed this year

That’s down from the combined 2023 catch of 7.3 million pounds which made the Westward Region the largest crab fishery in Alaska!

Unlike last season when the crabbers stood down for two weeks before settling on an average price of $3.50 per pound, agreements were made to get the fishery underway on time this January.

Crabbers represented by the Kodiak Crab Alliance Cooperative (KCAC) agreed to separate deals with the processors for whom they individually fish. Reported prices were $3.70 per pound by Pacific Seafoods, $3.60 by Alaska Pacific Seafoods and OBI and Trident offered $3.50 to its Tanner crab fishermen.

Some crabbers plan to have crab tendered from Kodiak to Dutch Harbor, said Nat Nichols, regional shellfish manager at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game at Kodiak.

That’s because Unisea is paying $4 or more per pound for the larger Kodiak crab which weigh 2.2 pounds on average, said a Cooperative spokesman.

“Our Tanners are more than one inch larger than the Bering Sea crab,” said KCAC president Kevin Abena, meaning they produce bigger and more desirable 12-ounce leg sections.

The 2024 Tanner crab fishery is likely to be worth well over $12 million to local fishermen.

Kodiak boats head out for the January 15 start of the Tanner crab season. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

Tanner with a capital T

Tanner crab should always be spelled with a capital T because it is named after Zera Luther Tanner, commander of the research vessel Albatross, which explored Alaska waters in the 1800s. It’s similar to capitalizing Dungeness crab, which are named after the town of Dungeness, WA where the fishery began in 1848.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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