Once the quota of 37,260 pounds is reached, Norton Sound’s red king crab CDQ fishery is set to close for the season. That should happen today (Wednesday), capping off a fast and successful winter crabbing season with a record-high catch price ($7.75/lb.).
On December 19, the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group voted to support changes to four different proposals on hunting regulations: most notably, the establishment of registration permit hunts within hunting units 21, 23, 24, and 26.
“I am addressing my way of life,” subsistence hunter Walter Sampson said at last week’s meeting in Kotzebue, wary of sport caribou hunters being allowed back into Unit 23.
The Federal Subsistence Board has closed Unit 23 to outside hunters this fall, but the yearlong ban hasn’t cleared up the controversy or confusion surrounding the hunt.
Salmon fishing is underway on the Yukon River, but runs are expected to be below average this summer season.
On Wednesday, the state officials asked the Federal Subsistence Board to reconsider the yearlong closure, which goes into effect on July 1.
In the first season shortened by a new quota, winter fishermen harvested the allowed 41,376 pounds of red king crab in just over a month.
Commercial fishermen are on par with last year’s record-breaking catch, but they stand to make less money because of a new, reduced quota.
Norton Sound’s winter crab fishery finally opened Monday after poor sea ice delayed commercial crabbers for about a month.
The Board of Fisheries considered limiting the gillnet size in Norton Sound’s Subdistrict 1, eventually deciding against it, and passed all 6 Arctic proposals.