Shellfish managers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said March 11 that the bulk of the 41,376-pound winter red king crab quota for Norton Sound has been harvested, leaving just 15,200 pounds to catch.
Based on current catch rates, the entire open access guideline harvest level was expected to end by the third week of March, they said.
Following the end of the open access winter commercial fishery, ADF&G will open a commercial fishery by emergency order to harvest the community development quota allocation of 517,000 pounds of red king crab.
By regulation, the CDQ is allocated 7.5 percent of the allowable commercial harvest, and this year this equates to 38,190 additional pounds.
The winter CDQ season closes when the CDQ allocation is harvested, but could also close earlier at the discretion of CDQ management, by emergency order by ADF&G, or as required by regulation on April 30.
Any CDQ quota not taken during the winter will be taken during the summer red king crab commercial fishery.
This CDQ fishery is open to all residents 18 years or older of the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s 15 member communities who qualify to obtain a CDQ gear permit card and who sign the 2016 NSEDC North Sound Red King Crab Fishermen’s Agreement and NSEDC residency verification forms.
To date, 28 commercial permit holders have registered for the open access fishery.