Due to the heavy restrictions on harvest periods, it is critical that boats are ready on the very morning that the first day opens. Beating other boats to an area increases the catch exponentially and one day can make all the difference. Crab fishing docks are located at Dutch Harbor and the opening of a period sees a swarm of fishermen and crab boats, racing to find their treasure. They must first retrieve their pots and gear stacked at the docks.
In order to lure the crab, 700-pound cages called "pots" are dropped with bait of cod, herring and sardines which draw the crab in. They enter through a funnel that, once inside, keeps them from getting back out.
Buoys are attached in order to locate the traps lying some 400 feet below. This is a very dangerous task. If the fisherman's foot gets tangled into the nylon roping, it will pull him right into the icy waters.
A typical crab boat has 6 guys working it, but a processing boat, such as the one Roger works on, has 18.
Each position has it's own requirements. There is always a mate, a captain, a skipper and a master. No matter the crew size, there must be at least three licensed people aboard.
Why would anyone take such risks against great odds? Well, of course there's the thrill.
And then there's the thrill of the pay!
It's not unheard of (in 2008) to haul in well over $100k on a single fishing trip (not being the
owner or skipper).
And let's not forgest the amazing scenes...
Nature's gift to the crab fisherman
Thank you, Roger!