The crab fishery is in good shape, says Geoff Gould of the Area A Crab Association, but this may change, he suggests, due to a regulations that allow licence holders to change areas every three years, Heather Ramsay writes.
Area A will see 12 more licence holders starting January 2006 and there is nothing to stop more crabbers from shifting north in 2009.
“People are moving because areas down south are not producing for a number of reasons,” he says.
With 42 licences in Area A already, most fisherman don’t want the added competition. Mr. Gould says fisheries don’t have an adequate management plan for crab anyway. There is a cap on the number of traps allowed in an area, but there is no limit on the number of crabs harvested.
Right now the limit is 35,000 traps
“You are entitled to harvest any crab that is legal,”
Most crabs are caught by October, but the fishery is open through April. With 250 licences on the coast, Mr. Gould worries about how many more fishermen may come north.
“We feel the fleet is big enough. We don’t need anymore boats to catch what is out there.”
Guided by the molting season, the fishery didn’t open until August 1 this year.
This may mean people will fish later into the winter, he added, but according to the test fishery the stocks are in good shape.
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