Current weather

  • Overcast, light rain
  • 54°
    Overcast, light rain
  • Comment

Shutdown may hit 'Deadliest Catch' fishery

Posted: October 9, 2013 - 9:07pm  |  Updated: October 9, 2013 - 9:17pm

ANCHORAGE — The Alaska red king crab fishery that’s featured on the popular reality show, “Deadliest Catch,” faces an uncertain start because of the federal government’s partial shutdown, and a late opening could have costly implications in Japan.

National fisheries managers who are supposed to assign individual quotas for the multimillion-dollar harvest before its scheduled opening next week are among federal workers who have been furloughed.

Fishermen said Wednesday there is no time to waste in cashing in on the lucrative market in Japan, where the crab is highly prized for holiday celebrations — and that means getting the catch on the way to the island nation by mid-November.

Missing Japan’s holiday season could mean a loss of up to $7 million.

Lance Farr, a Seattle-based boat owner, has a crew of six just waiting in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor. Everyone is wondering how long it will take before they can begin. For many Bering Sea crabbers, the Bristol Bay fishery represents half of their yearly income.

“They’re anxious to get going,” Farr said. “I’m worried that we’re not going to get anything done in D.C.”

A National Marine Fisheries Service enforcement official said crabbers harvesting without their required quota permits would violate the law.

“We have to follow the regulations,” said Matt Brown, head of the service’s enforcement office in Alaska. “It’s a violation to fish without a permit, so we would have to take enforcement action.”

Catch limits are set by state fishery managers, but the national agency sets the quotas. The crab fishery needs both to function. Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

As long as the quotas remain unassigned, all crews can do is sit and wait at Dutch Harbor. That means boat owners are accumulating costs of about $1,000 a day for such expenses as insurance, mortgage fees and food for crew members, said Mark Gleason, executive director of the Seattle-based trade association, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, which represents about 70 percent of the fishermen working on 80 boats in the fishery.

“Now it’s up to the feds to resolve the budget impasse and put their people to work so we can put our people to work,” Gleason said.

In a letter Wednesday to U. S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and U.S. Reps. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, noted that fishermen of Alaska’s red king crab “are fully paying for the costs of managing” the fishery through a cost recovery program administered by the Commerce Department through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The letter urges Pritzker to direct NOAA to immediately begin the quota-issuing process for fishermen and processors to ensure the fishery opens on schedule.

“The timing of this opening will ensure proper management of this public resource, and the ability of crab fisherman and processors to pay the full cost for the administration of this program,” the letter states.

As for how a late start or no start would affect production of the Discovery Channel reality show, Discovery spokesman Phil Zimmerman said, “I don’t think we can comment on this at this time.”

  • Comment

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
rwhobby 10/10/13 - 07:02 am
We don't need the Feds to fish!

Alaskans have been fishing the waters of Alaska long before Alaska became a state.

jw99669 10/10/13 - 12:57 pm
Take control

The State of Alaska should retake control of this fishery, and every other Federally controlled land/park/resource in our great state. If the Feds are unwilling to do the job, then it's our responsibility to do it.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/11/13 - 09:41 am
These post sound like a

These post sound like a desire for an ALASKA NATION to me. It's going to be hard to GET-R-DONE, ridding us of All the KINGS Horseman and ALL the KINGS Men, then putting OUR BROKEN STATE OR NATION, BACK TOGETHER AGAIN, AS THEY CONTINUALLY FIGHT TO KEEP US BROKEN.
P.S. The restrooms in the pass are also closed by the Kings men who control the Kings Forest in OUR STATE.
Buy some rice and beans as king crab may not be available.

BUT WAIT, BUY NOW or Rice and beans might not be available much longer either, THANKS to the King.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/11/13 - 12:29 pm
The Grand Canyon closing

The Grand Canyon closing could only lead to a much bigger closure, and that could only be the Oceans as we see happening now.
I wonder which end of the Grand Canyon is closed, or is it the middle of this Gigantic drain hole that's closed and Who is Guarding it against Illegal Viewers?
I wonder if the oceans are closed now like the National Mall was for Americans only, while the Illegals are ok to use the areas at will while protesting Americans Freedoms?
Absolute absurdity mixed with craziness for Power and Control of ALL, OR ELSE CLOSURES FOR NONCOMPLIANCE.

CM907 10/11/13 - 01:23 pm
The government is incompetent

The Fed owns approximately 60% of Alaska land and 43% of the KPB. Barack Obama is shutting down open air monuments , and parks that cost next to nothing to operate.

Only 13-14% of the government is actually shut down, and if We The People were to realize we could cut 14% of the government without even feeling it the Democrats would have nothing to stand on. They would be toast. Therefore BHO is inflicting as much pain, in as many places as visibly possible to convince the people that there is no room for cuts.

This is insane. The State of Alaska should take a stand and seize those lands and fisheries. The federal government is not responsible enough to manage them (both parties). We need to give power back to the States.

Norseman 10/11/13 - 04:20 pm
first of all it is one

first of all it is one faction in one party that is holding our country hostage. that being the tea party.

Let me break this down so you can understand who is to blame since you are apparently truly misinformed.

1. The house and senate passed a law called the Affordable Health care act.
2. The tea Party hated this law and made 41 attempts at having repealed. They struck out 41 times.
3. They sued the gov't and it made its way thru the courts. It eventually was heard by the supreme court and was found constitutional.
4. President Obama was re-elected to a second term defeating mit romney who ran on repealing ACA. Case you didn't know but romney lost horribly in that election.
5. Ted Cruz suggested back in August that he and other extremist members of the tea party sign a pledge to shutdown the government over the ACA law.
6. The majority members of the house and congress want a vote to open the gov't back up, but the radical minority tea party is holding it and us hostage.

Time for some of you to go back and read our Constitution on how laws are passed and repealed in this nation.
Shutting down our gov't because a few don't like a certain law is NOT how it is done.
They repub's refuse to allow a vote in congress thereby keeping our gov't shut down.
Now you have the facts so quit spreading lies and false statements about who really is to blame for this fiasco.

This is a huge mistake on the repub's part. Watch what happens at the next election. Their will be a thorough housecleaning of all the radical tea party members who are tearing this country up.
Restore America by demanding the repubs allow a vote on the floor.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/11/13 - 08:36 pm
Keep telling yourself that

Keep telling yourself that Norseman and it will all become true, in your mind alone with a certain other Koolaid drinkers like you as well. But non the less an Untruth of who is to Blame.
Sounds about right for this case of BLAME SHIFTING.
Now that's what I call being Spot ON.

If I may use the words of Judge Judy, 'Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.' Or tell me this is all the Tea parties fault like I'm stupid enough to believe that when ALL evidence proves other wise, and expect me to believe it.

Many States have already started paying the expense to open THEIR STATE NATIONAL PARKS, Alaska should do like wise and send all the Kings men packing looking for jobs else where in Blue States.
In closing Norseman your sharing some facts of half truths about the GOP while leaving out the true facts for the DEMS rejecting every bill to finance govt. sent to them by Congress, does not make or prove these lies of IT'S THE TEA PARTIES FAULT as being true.
Have a GR8 weekend and keep practicing, IT'S THE TEA PARTY. LOL

coolbreeze99672 10/12/13 - 07:11 am
Isn't the majority of crab

Isn't the majority of crab fishermen, boats etc all come out of Washington state? Not being able to fish crab will probably hurt Washington more than Alaska.
Might even be beneficial to our state. Be more crab next year.

It's really no different working oilfield in this state. Some years there is little to no work in Alaska for a roughneck. Welcome to reality crab fishermen!

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 10/12/13 - 11:09 am
coolbreeze99672 your correct

coolbreeze99672 your correct I do believe about the majority of boats being from other states, even possibly financed by foreign nations, Japan for one.
I do believe it is an all out attack against ALL OF AMERICA due to this Presidents wish of absolute power and submission to his rule as Sovereign.
Many states are already taking over operating expenses for their FED controlled lands and waters OPENING THEM BACK UP.
Alaska needs to do this as well I think.
I may be talking where I'm not allowed to do so though according to a couple other posters.
I'm not a Commercial Crabber and don't know about it supposedly even though I have always been on the seas of Alaska for over 35 years in my own boats for personal use and also Commercial Halibut fished.
There goes my Cajun crab stuffed boneless chicken dinners.
What's next in this suffering for all peoples?
The Grand Canyon is opened again by the states who actually surround it and provide all laborers to keep it open for people to legally look at.

Back to Top


Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title
  • title
  • title
My Gallery


  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback