The 2014-2015 Southeast Alaska commercial sea cucumber dive fishery, open from Oct. 6 through March 31, has a guideline harvest level of 1,084,800 pounds of sea cucumbers available this season, state fisheries officials say.
Divers are reminded by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that during the week of Thanksgiving, the scheduled open period will be Nov. 23 and Nov. 24.
Each area included in this fishery is open for harvest only once every three years, and each sub-district to be included in a fishery is surveyed before the season begins to determine the GHL for that sub-district.
For the 2013-2014 season, the GHL was 1,472,600 pounds, biologists said.
Data compiled by the state’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission shows that the average price of permits last year was $33,000, up from $22,800 in 2012, $12,900 in 2011 and $11,300 in 2010.
For the 2013-2014 season a total of 280 permanent permits were renewed, and 198 permits fished, harvesting a total of 1,549,628 pounds, the average harvest being 7,826 pounds. Harvesters earned an average of $31,071, and the total gross earnings came to $6,152,017.
Resident divers comprised the bulk of participants, fishing 157 of the 222 resident permits, for a total of 1,170,378 pounds of sea cucumbers, or average of 7,455 pounds. Their total gross earnings of $4,658,622 averaged out to $29,673.
Non-residents fished 41 of the 58 renewed permits, harvesting a total of 379,250 pounds of sea cucumber, or an average of 9,250 pounds. Their total gross earnings of $1,493,395 averaged out to $36,424.
Data on permits, harvests and gross earnings for this fishery back to 1996 is provided by the state’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission online at http://www.cfec.state.ak.us/bit/X_Q11A.htm