More snow crab, but in NL, the industry is worried about the coming season

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No more snow crab, but in NL, the industry is worried about the coming season

A snow crab in Caraquet, New Brunswick, on April 19, 2022.

Snow crab stocks are high this year, according to a study by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). This is good news a few years after it nearly collapsed, but the economic outlook for the current year remains worrying.

We've seen an increase in exploitable biomass in recent years, says DFO snow crab biologist Julia Pantin at a press conference to announce the results of the 2022 stock study. of snow crab.

The exploitable biomass, that is, snow crab of sufficient size to be marketed, has been estimated at 200,000 tonnes in the waters at off Newfoundland and Labrador.

Five years ago, the alarm bells rang. Stocks were dangerously low. In 2019, catches were at their lowest level in 25 years, which led to a sharp reduction in quotas for fishermen and concerns about the collapse of this industry.

Greg Pretty, president of the FFAW union, at a press conference on February 27, 2023.

Industry leaders are more optimistic today. We have a great resource. Even some areas that weren't very good turn out to be a bit more favorable. So that's good news, says Greg Pretty, president of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers, which represents thousands of fishers and seafood processing plant workers.

Last year, quotas were set at over 50,000 tonnes, up 32% from 2021. This increase coincided with a rise in the landed price. During the pandemic, this product had become very popular in the United States. Demand eventually dried up during the 2022 season, leaving processors with large quantities of crabs on their hands.

The unsold surplus of crab x27;last year, combined with rising costs for fishing companies, raises concerns about the prospects for this year's harvest.

A decision on the overall quota of this year is expected sometime in March. In previous years, the harvest usually started in April.

Mr. Pretty would not reveal the union's position on whether the quota should remain stable or increase.

Based on an article by CBC News

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