SEATTLE -- Local fish stores and distributors are bracing themselves for the loss of one of their most important items: fresh king crab from the Bering Sea.
National Marine Fisheries Service workers who normally issue the permits and monitor the season have been furloughed. Without them the crab boats, many from Seattle, cannot leave port.
“If we can’t get the product out of Alaska, get it down to Seattle, we’re going to miss it,” said John Daniels who owns Seattle Fish Company.
The short crab season which begins Tuesday is dubbed the Super Bowl of seasons. It’s when boats from the Seattle fleet, including those from the show “Deadliest Catch,” put it all on the line for a piece of the big crab payoff. Asian and domestic sales of king crab can make or break a fishing year.
It also provides a tidy pay day to businesses down the line, like the Seattle Fish Company. Daniels said king crab is a holiday favorite and customers are willing to pay top dollar for fresh crab from the Seattle fleet.
Crab boat captains are pressuring congressional members to pass some kind of emergency action. So far, there are no indications that will happen.