Kodiak tanner crabbers continue to stand down, awaiting higher wage
KODIAK, Alaska (KTUU) - The waters in Kodiak were again quiet Thursday afternoon without a single sound of a crab pot dropping as local crabbers stay on strike, awaiting a higher wage offering from Kodiak canneries for tanner crabs.
Nearly 500 fishermen are standing down, saying they’re not going fishing until they are offered a fair price.
“We haven’t had one in Kodiak — where we’ve had solidarity like this that I can remember — I think since the mid-70s,” said F/V Isanotski Captain Shawn Dochtermann. “We have to stick together, that’s the only way that we’ll ever get the processors to pay us fairly.”
Since Jan. 4, fishermen and canneries have been in negotiations. As of Thursday, the canneries had increased their price up to $3.25 per pound of tanner crab, which is a 75-cent increase from their initial offer in early January of $2.50. However, on Friday Jan. 27, the fleet turned down the offer, saying it is still too low, considering the extreme situations their job puts them in.
“It really is just disheartening to get a low offer from them,” said Gabriel Prout, co-owner of the F/V Silverspray. “Quite honestly, it really is a slap in the face of the work that we’ve put in and the effort that we go through and the risk that we take to bring this crab, a premier, premium product, the Kodiak Tanner crab.”
Alaska’s News Source reached out to the four Kodiak processors. Of the four, OBI Seafoods responded, but did not offer any comments. No one from the other three canneries responded.
Meanwhile, fishermen said they have also been speaking with canneries in Dutch Harbor and King Cove who offered $3.50 per pound.
“If Peter Pan in King Cove can give their fisherman that luxury, then we deserve it just as well,” Dochtermann said.
Dochtermann said the fleet is asking for $5 a pound.
“We’re not going to even have a meeting until they offer us a price that is fair and equitable, and we need profit-sharing and we need a contract,” Dochtermann said.
Until then, the tanner crab fishermen plan to continue standing down as they wait for a price they see as fair.
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