Shutdown Threatens Crab Hunters’ Most Profitable Season

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The government shutdown may prevent the season’s biggest crab catch from happening.

The government shutdown is impacting all sorts of industries.

Fishing boats and crews already waiting along Alaska’s shore for the season’s opening day are unable to obtain the required permits.

For consumers and crabbers alike, the Alaskan red king crab harvest is one of the most anticipated.

Said one ship captain, “The king crab season is like the Super Bowl of crab fishing. It's short, it's a lot of money, really fast."

Much of the demand comes from Japanese clients who rely upon it for a pre-winter holiday tradition in which the gift of red king crab is given.

Fishermen depend on the multi-million dollar haul to sustain themselves, their families and their businesses. The crabbers make about half of their annual income during the first month of the season that runs from mid October to mid January.

Catching the crabs and still having enough time to process them and get them to Japan in time is a tight turnaround window.

Some worry that even if they can start the process to get permits in the coming days it’ll be too late.

Also, while they wait to set sail, operation costs will continue to rack up at a rate of about a thousand dollars a day.

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