Norton Sound red king crab fishery GHL set at 27,328 pounds

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists have set a harvest of 27,328 pounds for the 2022 commercial Norton Sound winter red king crab fishery, for which there were eight permit holders, but no buyers, as of mid-February.

That’s a slight boost from the 25,153-pound GHL set for the 2021 winter fishery.

For the same period last February there were four permit holders and one buyer registered for the winter commercial crab fishery, with three of the permit holders also registered as catcher-sellers.

Concerns over the low abundance of red king crab prompted Norton Sound Seafood Products, a longtime buyer in Nome of this harvest, to decline purchases of the local harvest in 2021, citing concerns of the long-term health of crab stocks.

Last summer’s catch was sold locally, but none was exported out of the region.

Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., of which NSSP is a subsidiary, issued a statement last summer stating that they felt allowing a commercial fishery would negatively impact recovering stocks for both subsistence and commercial harvesters, the effects of which may persist for years to come.


By regulation the guideline harvest level for the winter commercial red king crab fishery is 8% of the total commercial GHL.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, meeting in early February, adopted overfishing limits, or OFLs, and the allowable biological catch, or ABC, for the fishery.

The total catch OFL was set at 670,000 pounds and the ABC at 400,000 pounds. The OFL and ABC include both retained and discarded catch. ADF&G estimated the legal male biomass, or LMB, to be 4.27 million pounds. The GHL is set as a percentage of the LMB and must be kept below the ABC.

ADF&G noted that those holding permits for this fishery must register at the ADF&G office in Nome to receive crab pot tags before heading out to fish.