ADF&G updates information on Tanner crab fishery

Steve Charles, left, puts Tanner crab from the F/V Ace into a bucket for processing in Cordova, AK with fellow Trident Seafoods employees on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

State fisheries officials have slated the Commissioner’s Permit tanner crab fishery in the Western and Eastern Districts of Prince William Sound to run from March 1 to March 31, unless closed earlier by emergency order.

Depending on fishery performance, statistical area closures may occur by emergency order before the season closure, with area closures announced with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice.

The fishery will be monitored closely with mandatory daily call-ins, as specified as the permit. While daily call-ins were mandatory last year, compliance was low, ADF&G officials said. If fishermen do not adhere to daily call-ins, management will be conservative and enforcement action will be taken, they said.

Should the National Weather Service issue a 48-hour marine weather forecast for Prince William Sound at 4 a.m. on Feb. 28 that contains a gale warning, the opening of the fishery will be delayed for 24 hours.  The 4 a.m. marine weather forecast for Prince William Sound would then be checked each subsequent day until no gale warning is issued for the upcoming 48-hour period, or until 12:01 a.m. March 4, when the season would open regardless of the forecast.

All other elements of the Commissioner’s Permit announced earlier remain in effect.

Harvesters are reminded that Prince William Sound is a super-exclusive registration area for Tanner crab and in order to participate, a valid 2019 Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission interim-use permit card for Prince William Sound Tanner crab is required. These permits are available through the Homer office, which is reachable by phone at 1-907-235-8191.