Sea Cucumber Dive Fishery Opens

Sea cucumber. (Photo by Mary Harrsch / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Over the last two days, people have been diving Kodiak waters for a spiky, reddish delicacy known as the sea cucumber.

Groundfish, Shellfish & Dive Fisheries area management biologist Nathanial Nichols says the first weekly fishing period for cucumbers opened Sunday.

“It’s a winter fishery by regulation. It’s October through April. We haven’t fished in the spring in a number of years just because we’ve caught all of it in the fall.”

Some areas are more active than others.

Nichols says divers generally harvest roughly 70,000 pounds around Sitkalidak Strait. He says Alitak Bay and Uyak Bay are also popular.

The high value, low-volume fishery is competitive, he says, and they meet their guideline harvest level every season. This year, there are about 20 or 22 divers targeting 120,000 pounds.

He says they usually meet half the GHL in the first period.

“So, I’m expecting something in the neighborhood of 40,000 pounds, 50, possibly up to 60. The weather is not ideal this period, so that’ll slow harvest down a little bit.”

The first fishing period ended Tuesday.

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