Opposition Leader Gerry Reid says he is disappointed with the dates
announced for this year’s crab fishery in the province, and is asking the
Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reconsider the closing date of
The recent announcement that this year’s crab fishery
will open on April 5th and close on May 31st is
causing great concern amongst many fish harvesters and plant workers in the
province. Ice and climate conditions on the northeast coast may prevent the
crab fishery from opening until May month; the dates overlap with other
fisheries that are taking place at the same time; plant workers would get a
maximum of seven weeks employment; and a shortened season would force all
crab to be pumped through the processing facilities during a seven week
period, almost certainly having an impact on the quality of crab produced.
"I wrote a letter to Minister Hearn this morning asking that he
reconsider the closing date for the crab season if the quota is not fully
taken and soft shell crab is not a problem," said Mr. Reid. "If ice or
climate conditions remain a problem on the northeast coast, the current
season would dramatically reduce the amount of time fish harvesters and
plant workers will be able to work. As a result, many would not even qualify
for Employment Insurance benefits.
"On the northeast coast, these dates will conflict with that of the seal
fishery. On the south coast, many fish harvesters will be forced to decide
whether to fish for lobster or crab. While I understand that the Department
of Fisheries and Oceans is dealing with quota issues, I am encouraging the
federal minister to consider these factors. The low price of crab is bad
enough, but a shortened season would be devastating to many in the fishery.
"By giving a commitment that the season will be extended until the quota
is taken or until soft shell crab becomes a problem, the fears and
uncertainty facing many fish harvesters would be addressed. I am encouraging
Minister Hearn to look at these facts and take them into consideration
before making any final decisions."