Fisherman get ready to wrap up Kodiak tanner opening

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2002

KODIAK (AP) -- Passengers on the 6:20 p.m. flight Tuesday must have wondered where they were as their plane settled for a landing over Chiniak Bay.

More than 50 boats filled the bay with light as fishermen worked the short tanner crab opening.

The boats continued to work Wednesday but fishermen in the Eastside District were to have their last pots pulled by 2 p.m.

The season started at noon Tuesday and as expected, it did not take long to harvest the quota.

The Eastside, which runs south from Cape Chiniak down past Old Harbor, got their 200,000 pounds.

The Northeast section, with a quota of 300,000 pounds, was to stay open at least through 8 p.m. when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game planned to tally numbers.

''Thirty percent of the Northeast boats called in yesterday,'' said Wayne Donaldson of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. ''The more reporting, the more accurate we can be.

''Fishermen call in at the end of the day and tell us where they fished, how many pots they lifted and how many crabs they have. Based on this information, we estimate when the fleet will reach the harvest level for an area.''

As of Wednesday morning, processors had not seen the crabs and had not set a price. Dave Woodruff at Alaska Fresh was advancing $2 a pound.

''The final price to fishermen depends on the contracts I sign with buyers,'' he said.

Tim Blott, plant manager at Cook Inlet Processing, said he was keeping his ear to the ground but had not yet heard that any buyer had set a price.

Most of the tanner effort this year will go to Japan, Blott said. ''We ship them raw-frozen because they like to cook them themselves.''

Crab value in Japan depends more on the condition of the shell than on good meat content. The market likes clean shells and all the legs and claws intact, Blott said.

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