Alaskan Fishers Fear Bleak Season As Crab Numbers Dwindle In Warming Waters

"KODIAK, Alaska — Gabriel Prout worked four seasons on his father’s crab boat, the Silver Spray, before joining his two brothers in 2020 to buy a half-interest plus access rights for a snow crab fishery that’s typically the largest and richest in the Bering Sea. Then in 2021, disaster: an annual survey found crabs crashing to an all-time low. The red king crab fishery was closed; the snow crab fishery cut to a tenth of the previous year’s take.

After another bad survey last year, the red king crab fishery closed again and the snow crab fishery closed for the first time ever. Suddenly, Prout’s optimism about being his family’s third generation in crab fishing seemed misplaced.

“It’s very hard to find a way to keep going forward,” said Prout, 33. With almost all his expected income gone, he’s scrambled ever since to scratch out a living by working as a salmon tender — using his boat to supply other boats and offload their catch."

Joshua A. Bickel reports for the Associated Press September 6, 2023.

Source: AP, 09/07/2023