ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Sea ice is being moved across the Bering Sea more quickly than anticipated by strong winds and cold temperatures, and it's making snow crab fishermen nervous. Forecasters expect the ice to cover the crabbing grounds any day.
"We do expect it to reach much of the edge of the shelf, over this weekend," said Kathleen Cole, the Sea Ice Program leader for the National Weather Service.
The NWS is fielding dozens of phone calls a day from crab fishermen, who are looking for an update on where the sea ice is at.
"Most people are picking their pots up and getting them out of harm's way," said Jim Stone, president of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.
Crabbing pots can cost over $1,000.
This year's quota is 90 million pounds, which is a lot more than previous years.
Mid-January is the peak of the snow crab season in Alaska, but it opens in mid-October, and ends May 31.
Fishermen plan on waiting out the weather at local ports.
"A lot of wait and see, and realizing that things can change at any time," Heather Fitch, the Dutch Harbor area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said.
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