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Blue King Crab (Paralithodes platypus)

Historically, there has been a directed commercial harvest of blue king crab. King crabs are most commonly fished using pots, large 600- to 700-pound steel frames covered with nylon-webbing. Commonly, each pot is baited, with chopped herring, and then dropped to the water where it sinks to the bottom and is generally allowed to soak for one or two days when fishing red or blue kings, but longer when fishing for golden king crabs. Buoys attached to the pots with heavy line are retrieved and lifted onto the boat by use of powerful hydraulic systems. Boats fishing king crabs are 40-200 feet long. Those vessels fishing in the Bering Sea or Aleutian Islands average over 100 feet. Major blue king crab fishing grounds have been adjacent to the Pribilof and St. Matthew Island in the Bering Sea. Peak blue king crab statewide harvest and value were 14 million pounds and $32 million in the 1981/82 and 1983/84 seasons.