Alaska Winter King and Snow Crab Season Opens

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Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute celebrates increased harvest limits for king and snow crab fisheries.

Today marks the opening of Alaska’s 2014-2015 winter king and snow crab season. Alaska’s crab fishermen will take to Alaska’s icy waters to bring delicious and succulent Alaska king and snow crab to markets around the world.

Harvest limits are set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and utilize the best available science and responsible fisheries management practices to allow for the maximum sustained yield of a species. The 2014 harvest limits are as follows:

  • Bristol Bay red king crab harvest limit has increased by 16% from last year, to 10 million pounds.
  • St. Matthew Island blue king crab harvest limit is set at 655,000 pounds. The fishery was closed in 2013 but survey results showed an increase in mature male biomass in 2014.
  • The Bering Sea bairdi crab harvest is set at 15.1 million pounds, representing a near-500% increase over last year’s harvest limit of 3.1 million pounds, due to an increase in mature male biomass based on the most recent survey data.
  • The Bering Sea opilio crab harvest limit is set at nearly 68 million pounds, representing a 25% increase over last year. Snow crab is the market name for both bairdi and opilio crab.
  • Other Alaska crab fisheries include Aleutian Island golden king crab, which opened on August 15th with a harvest limit of 6.29 million pounds, and Norton Sound red king crab, which ran from June 25th to August 2nd and had a total commercial harvest of 385,821 pounds.

“It looks like the wave of bairdi we have been expecting has just turned into a tsunami,” said Jim Stone, former President of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. “Bairdi has long been the fishermen’s favorite crab, and now I think U.S. chefs and home cooks would be very welcoming to such a sweet flavored species they most likely know nothing of.” Japan has historically been the largest market for bairdi crab, a type of snow crab that is sweet, flavorful, and always sustainable.

Alaska crab stocks are jointly managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), which oversees conservation and management, while the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) oversees allocation and policy.

Luxurious Alaska king crab is unmatched in size and is celebrated for its sweet flavor and rich, tender texture. Alaska snow crab is prized for its delicately sweet flavor, and tender, snow-white meat. Both are wild and sustainable seafoods from Alaska. For more information including recipes, preparation tips and nutritional facts, please visit

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Tyson Fick
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
+1 (907) 465-5560
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