Old Massett may move alone on closing crab fishery

  • Jun. 13, 2003 4:00 p.m.

Old Massett Village Council is prepared to shut down the busy recreational crab fishery on North Beach, if Fisheries and Oceans Canada doesn’t take action, says chief councillor Ron Brown Jr.
Mr. Brown said he has requested a meeting with Fisheries officials to discuss the situation, but so far the two sides have not been able to get together.
“We told them to send the boss over to talk to us,” he said. “We’re willing to listen to what they have to say.”
Old Massett is prepared to take action as soon as next week if Fisheries officials don’t act, Mr. Brown said.
Old Massett has several concerns about the Dungeness crab fishery, which has grown steadily in recent years to situations where there can be hundreds of people out at low tides catching crabs. These concerns include vehicles constantly driving up and down the North Beach, vehicles and crab catchers interfering with the razor clam fishery, pollution from vehicles which are swept out into the ocean (this can happen several times a year), and people and vehicles trampling over young halibut and crab spawn habitat. Unmonitored overharvesting of crabs is also a concern.
“There are people who go out with a 30 or 40 litre garbage can and fill it up,” Mr. Brown said. “Some people are just plain greedy.”
Old Massett would like to see North Beach closed to crabbing, with South Beach and Agate Beach remaining open, he said.