Crab Quota: Buying or Leasing it

Discussing the crab fisheries, the IFQs (Individual Fishing Quotas), leased quota, crab prices, TAC (Total Allowable Catch), and the different Bering sea crab, can be a complex and heady experience for fans new to the show who are unfamiliar with the “inside industry” language or jargon.

We already know that the price of King crab for the 2007 season was settled at $4.20 per pound.  We also already know from watching “Deadliest Catch”, that fishing crews who have higher individual fishing quotas (IFQ) that they own, earn more income from the season then fishing crews who lease most of their quota.  Leasing is costly as money earned from the crab harvest is split between the fishing crew and the rightful owner of said quota…kind of like paying rent to a landlord as opposed to owning your own home.  Now the discussion is crab quota and the cost of buying it outright.

Quota can be purchased at a very expensive rate.  According to a Fish Factor article by Laine Welch, transfer and sales of crab quota doesn’t happen too often so it’s difficult to determine what the value of quota is, in terms of selling and buying.  A fisherman or boat owner would have to pay between $28-30 per pound for King crab quota, $9-10 for opilio, and $12 for Tanner crab.  Imagine how expensive that would be.  If someone wanted to purchase 100,000 pounds of King crab quota–and that’s if a quota owner wanted to sell out–they would have to dish out somewhere’s around 3 million dollars!  Once again proof that king crab is “Alaskan gold”.  Take a look at her article, it explains it very well…

Crab quotas

Bering Sea crab is the newest entry into the quota share market. Similar to Alaska halibut and sablefish, catches of king and Tanner crab have been split among participants into shares based on their fishing histories.

But unlike transactions in halibut and sablefish fisheries, which involve thousands of participants, crab quotas involve far fewer players and transactions. That makes for a more tricky market, said Jeff Osborn at Dock Street Brokers.

“With crab, the transfers and sales are infrequent enough that it is hard to establish exactly what the market is,” he explained.

Read the rest after the jump (scroll down to crab quota article please)

This entry was posted in Alaska, Crab Fisheries, Crab Rationalization, Facts & Data and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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