March 31, 2022
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans released the management plan for the 2022 snow crab fishery early this morning. Harvesters are very pleased to hear of an overall increase of 32% to the total allowable catch (TAC), except for 2J which will has received a 25% cut. This amounts to approximately 25 million pounds more snow crab being landed by inshore harvesters and a substantial economic contribution to the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are proud stewards of our renewable resource and have played a critical role in today’s news. Over the years, they’ve taken cuts when needed and have made important contributions to the science assessment process. Our members are looking forward to a successful season pending the resolution at the price setting panel,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.
The increases to the snow crab quotas are in line with the improving stocks and is welcomed news to coastal communities that rely on the inshore fishery. However, those who fish in 2J remain concerned over the health of the snow crab stock in that region and have repeatedly expressed frustration to DFO regarding high levels of natural mortality due to predation.
Chad Strugnell is a fish harvester from St. Lewis, Labrador, and fishes in 2J. “After 20 years of cuts in our area, it’s time for DFO to acknowledge the real source of the problem instead of taking the easy way out by eliminating our livelihoods. Fish harvesters aren’t the problem here in 2J – predation is,” he says.
“There has been tremendous engagement by harvesters in snow crab research, assessment, and management. Over the past few years, crab fleet chairs have put in hundreds of volunteer hours on zoom, working to improve the PA. As a result of those conversations, we are in a really good place for developing research programs that matter for harvesters and that help improve or safeguard crab stocks,” says Dr. Erin Carruthers, FFAW-Unifor Scientist.
The price setting process for snow crab remains ongoing, with a hearing expected to take place thus morning and a decision expected on Friday.