Crab lines still a problem, says BC Ferries

  • Sep. 9, 2009 4:00 p.m.

The Northern Adventure continues to tangle with lines from crab traps, says BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall, despite repeated requests to crab fishermen to remove their gear from the ferry route. Ms Marshall said the ferry picked up more lines on the Friday night crossing to Prince Rupert, and on an earlier trip last week. BC Ferries started several weeks ago sending divers down to inspect the Northern Adventure every time it docks in Prince Rupert and cut away rope and floats if necessary. Ms Marshall said this week that BC Ferries will be installing new rope guards on the ferry to help protect the propellers and shafts. Meanwhile, Dan Edwards of the Area A Crab Association said crab fishermen are doing everything they can to get their gear out of the way. The 52 licence holders have around 35,000 traps in the water. “The guys have really made an effort to pull their traps,” he said. “They’re not very happy about it either. It’s $300 for every trap they lose.” Mr. Edwards said some of the crab fishermen moved their traps to the McIntyre Bay area when it opened last week, which should lessen the amount of gear in Hecate Strait. He also said that the whole issue, which has received province-wide media attention over the past couple of weeks, has left the fishermen somewhat frustrated. “They’re definitely angry about being painted as irresponsible bad guys here,” Mr. Edwards said. “They feel that they’ve been really proactive.” The fishermen were the ones who had the idea last summer of meeting with BC Ferries to figure out a designated route for the ferry which could be left clear, he said. The fishermen have other challenges as well. “It hasn’t been a great season for these guys so far,” Mr. Edwards said. “The phrase I’ve heard is poor to mediocre.”