In pursuit of the best-tasting, most sustainable King crab in the world, we travel to the far northern reaches of the Pacific Ocean. Here on the rocky, volcanic slopes of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, we fish for Golden King crab at depths that can reach over 2,000 feet – deeper than any other commercial fishery in Alaska.
Join Captains Chad, Rip and Rick along with Co-captains Kristian and Anna as they share the Golden King crab story.
The great depths, remote location and cold, rough seas make Golden King crab notoriously difficult to catch. Described as the “mountain goats” of the Aleutian Islands, Goldens move up and down the walls of the Aleutian Trench at great depths. The great effort to catch Golden King crab does not go unrewarded, however; their isolated, pristine habitat give Goldens both an outstanding taste and unmatched sustainability.
Alaska Golden King crab are the considered the most sustainable King crab in the world due to excellent self-management of the fishery and outstanding cooperation among the stakeholders. The fleet, scientists, native groups and state agencies work together to keep the stocks of Golden King crab at a healthy, thriving level. A data-rich approach allows for real time review of the health of fishery, providing protection from overfishing for years to come. The Bering Sea Aleutian Island Crab Rationalization Program is excellent example of that cooperation, creating a limited access program to protect the health of the Golden King crab population. Under this program, a reduced fleet of five boats harvest their individual quotas over nine months.
Through The Western Alaska Community Development Association, ten percent of the allowable Golden King crab catch is allocated to Alaska villages. For the sixty-five villages that participate, fishing is critical to their livelihoods, culture and recreation. The Community Development Quota (CDQ) program adds another layer of sustainability, affording the villages an opportunity to build on their long fishing tradition through participation and investment in the Golden King crab fishery. The sixty-five participating villages have organized into six CDQ Entities who work closely with crabbers and processors.
Only five boats in the worlds are equipped to harvest Golden King crab. These boats use pots that are set on longlines, a hybrid technique which is unique to Golden King crab. Bright pink pots are used as red is the first color to “disappear” at great depths below the sea, making the pots undetectable to the Goldens. Captain Chad dives into this question in his videos Why the pink pots? and Building a Better Pot.
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