Federal shutdown could delay crab season

A "grasping pair" of male and female red king crab.

A “grasping pair” of male and female red king crab.
(Photo by Jan Haaga/NOAA)

Fishermen are gearing up for the opening of the Bering Sea’s lucrative crab season. But they may be off to a late start this year, because of the federal government shutdown.

State managers set catch limits. But the National Marine Fisheries Service is supposed to divide up the crab and assign individual fishing quotas, or IFQs, to boats.

“There’s nobody on staff with National Marine Fisheries Service [who is] available to issue IFQs as they are furloughed,” says Heather Fitch.

Fitch is a biologist with Fish and Game. She says it’s illegal for boats to harvest crab without these permits. But there’s no way of knowing how long it will be before the government gets around to issuing them.

See the full story at KUCB: Federal Shutdown Could Delay Crab Fisheries