Move over, salmon, here come the Dungies!

Somebody pass the butter, please? ASMI photo

Commercial salmon fisheries are now open all along the coast, from Southeast Alaska to the Copper River to Lower Cook Inlet to Kodiak to Chignik to Bristol Bay.

But salmon isn't the only game in town.

At noon tomorrow, the 2011-12 Dungeness crab season opens in Southeast. Here's the announcement.

Adam Messmer, a state fishery manager in Juneau, tells Deckboss 126 permit holders have signed for the Dungeness harvest so far.

Dungeness, like salmon, long has been a target of Alaska commercial fishermen. The crab was first commercially canned at Seldovia in 1920, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game species profile says.

Dungies typically are caught in circular pots baited with herring, squid or clams.

Commonly served whole, the Dungeness crab is "treasured for its beautiful orange shell color, distinctive sweet flavor and tender flaky white meat," the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute says.

Southeast Dungeness is quite a valuable crop.

The 2010-11 season produced a harvest of nearly 3.25 million pounds, worth more than $5.5 million at an average price of $1.78 per pound.

Most of the catch comes in the summer segment of the fishery, which is the part that opens tomorrow. A fall segment opens Oct. 1.

The Dungeness stock is in good shape in Southeast, Messmer says.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said up the coast at Yakutat. The Dungeness fishery there has been closed for the past 11 seasons due to weak stocks, and it'll remain closed this season.