Coast Guard, State of Alaska safeguard red king crab fleet

Coast Guard District 17 News

KODIAK, Alaska – The Coast Guard is conducting dockside exams in Western Alaska and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will deploy observers aboard participating crab vessels to safeguard the fishing fleet for the 2011 Bristol Bay red king crab season.

“These examinations ensure the vessel’s safety equipment is in good working condition before fisherman take to the water,” said Ken Lawrenson, the 17th District commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator. “Fishermen will be able to correct any deficiencies before the season begins. We also encourage them to attend the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association training at the community pool and local harbor in Unalaska and Kodiak. Topics will include liferaft, survival suit and flare use 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 have a valid decal for this season can call the Coast Guard 17th District fishing vessel safety coordinator at 1-800-478-7369 or their local Coast Guard marine safety office to schedule an exam.

  • MSD Unalaska, 907-581-3466 or fax 907-581-3468
  • MSD Kodiak, 907-486-5918 or fax 907-487-5585
  • Sector Anchorage 907-271-6700

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 81 vessels have pre-registered as of Sept. 29 for the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery. The fishery opens Oct. 15 and will remain open until the total allowable catch of 7.834 million pounds has been harvested.

In anticipation of the increased number of vessels operating in the region, Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews have been forward deployed to Cold Bay. This allows aircrews to provide 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 participating in the fishery are also asked to notify the Coast Guard 24 hours before a vessel’s initial departure from port. Any crab vessels with crab pots aboard must notify the Coast Guard via telephone or fax and provide the following information:

  • The name and official number of the vessel;
  • Name of the person making the notification;
  • Number of pots aboard and maximum number of pots their stability letter allows for and;
  • The expected time of departure.

This information allows Coast Guard examiners to ensure a safety check was performed on the vessel.

To make the above notification, call 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, call 907-486-6293.

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