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Alaska king crab season opens Saturday

Alaska Beat

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is announcing that its 2011-2012 harvest season for two of Alaska’s signature wild crab fisheries -- Alaska king crab and Alaska snow crab -- opens Oct. 15. The quotas for red king crabs are much reduced over last year, while snow and blue kings have increased. All of which means that Alaskans, who favor the reds, will have to pay a lot more for their crab feasts. But those lucky Red Lobster patrons in the Lower 48 will likely continue to get cut-rate deals on their snow crab feasts.

The following are the quota numbers for this year’s harvest:

-- The 2011 quota for Alaska Bristol Bay red king crab is over 7 million pounds, which represents a 47 percent reduction from 2010.

-- The 2011 Alaska Bering Sea snow (opilio) crab quota is set at nearly 90 million pounds, a 64 percent increase over 2010.

-- The 2011 Saint Matthew Island blue king crab quota is set at over 2 million pounds, which represents a 47 percent increase from last year.

Alaska crab stocks are jointly managed. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG) is responsible for conservation and management, and the North Pacific Management Council (NPFMC) (aka ‘The Family’) is responsible for policy and allocation.