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Shutdown Threatens Alaska Crab Industry

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:39:45 AM AKST   Updated On: Oct 09 2013 09:31:14 PM AKDT

The Alaska red king crab fishery featured on the reality show, "Deadliest Catch," is facing an uncertain start because of the federal government's partial shutdown, and a late opening could have ripple effects in Japan.

National fisheries managers who assign individual quotas for the multimillion-dollar harvest before its scheduled opening Tuesday are among those furloughed until the government gets back to work.

Fishermen say there's no time to waste to cash for the lucrative market in Japan, where the crab is highly prized for holiday celebrations - and that means getting the catch en route to the island nation no later than mid-November. Missing Japan's holiday season could mean a loss of up to $7 million.

Federal law enforcement officers say crabbers harvesting without quota permits would violate the law.