Coast Guard and state agency prepare fleet for upcoming Red King crab fishery season

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game personnel are beginning preparations to safeguard the fishing fleet for the start of the 2010 Red King crab season in Bristol Bay.

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in Kodiak and Unalaska are scheduled to conduct dockside exams beginning the week of Sept. 27. Dockside exams are to ensure the vessel’s safety equipment is in good working condition before fisherman take to the water. Fishermen will be able to correct any deficiencies before the season begins.

Fishermen are encouraged to attend the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association training at the community pool and local harbor in Unalaska and Kodiak. Topics covered will include life raft, survival suit and pyrotechnics or flare training.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game deploys observers aboard approximately 20 percent of the fleet for the duration of their fishing operations. A current Coast Guard dockside examination decal is required to carry an observer. Fishermen who do not already have a valid decal for this season can call the Seventeenth Coast Guard District Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator at 1-800-478-7369 or their local MSD for help with locating a dockside examiner in Alaska.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 74 vessels have pre-registered as of Sept. 21 for the Red King crab fishery.

In anticipation of the increased number of vessels operating in the region, Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews are scheduled to pre-stage in Cold Bay for the Red King crab fishery. This allows aircrews provide for a more rapid response should the need arise. A Coast Guard high-endurance cutter will also be on patrol in the Bering Sea during the majority of the season.

Fishermen are also asked to notify the Coast Guard 24 hours before a vessel’s initial departure from port. Any crab vessels with crab pots on board must notify the Coast Guard via telephone or fax and provide the following information: (1) the name and official number of the vessel; (2) name of the person making the notification; (3) number of pots aboard and maximum number of pots their stability letter allows for and; (4) the expected time of departure. This information allows Coast Guard examiners to ensure a safety check has been performed on the vessel.

To make the above notification, please call the MSD Unalaska, 907-581-3466 or fax 907-581-3468; MSD Kodiak, 907-486-5918 or fax 907-487-5585; or Sector Anchorage 907-271-6700. For Kodiak AMSEA reservations, please call 907-486-6293.

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