Kodiak waters remain quiet as fishermen demand higher price for crab

Commercial fishers are standing their ground and keeping their boats tied to the dock, after Kodiak canneries offered them a $2.50 per pound of crab.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 7:07 PM AKST
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KODIAK Alaska (KTUU) - It’s quiet on the waters off of the coast of Kodiak as crabbing boats remain tied to the docks days after the Department of Fish and Game announced that the Kodiak Tanner Crab Fishery opened last Sunday.

Captain of the F/V Isanotski Shawn Dochterman said that fishermen are not heading out to drop crab pots.

“At the present time, every vessel between the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak are standing down to get a fair and equitable price,” Dochtermann said.

Commercial fishers are keeping their boats tied to the docks after Kodiak canneries offered them a $2.50 per pound price for crab this season, which is almost $6 less than they were being paid last year. Kodiak Crab Alliance Cooperative secretary and treasurer Kevin Abena said that fishermen will wait until they get a price they feel is fair.

“Do we expect to be paid less this year, absolutely,” Abena said. “2 dollars and 50 cents, not near where the price should be.”

Last year, Dochtermann said prices were marked at $8.50 per pound. Which, Abena said, was artificially high. Then, the season took a hit.

“The markets are hurt but this is also a unique crab,” Abena said.

Commercial fishers say they are waiting to get a better offer from the Kodiak canneries. In the meantime, they are also eying other potential opportunities. Abena said canneries in both Dutch Harbor and King Cove are offering them at least a dollar more than Kodiak canneries.

“We’re in the process of organizing tenders to take all this crab out of Kodiak,” Abena said. “We feel that the money that stands to be gained from moving all this crab out west, well it’s a necessary thing for the fishermen in this fleet.”