Letters to the editor -
Eighteen years since the cod moratorium, and fishermen are taking up their crab pots not, because they have their quota, but because there is no crab to catch.
On July 8, I listened to an interview on Fisheries Broadcast where John Furlong talked to fisherman Larry Pinsent and a crab scientist, Earl Dawe, on the collapse of the crab stocks.
When asked the question what is causing the collapse, no one had the answer.
Ever since the cod moratorium, we have been fishing the crab species to the maximum and, as with everything in the ocean, there is only so much. If you keep taking crab out without managing it properly, this is the result. Besides fishing it to the maximum, it has also been fished when there is an abundance of soft shell and fishermen will not report it because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans might close the fishery down. Anyone who knows anything about crab knows soft shell is next year's crab and is also very delicate when handled and prone to large mortality when returned to the water.
The other problem is that the 200-plus crab fishermen who have shrimp licenses, will go out and drag the bottom on the crab grounds. DFO shuts down an area for soft shell crab and the next day, you are allowed to go in the same area and drag over the bottom.
How many times have I made the statement, "Will we never learn from our past mistakes?"
Our fishery will never come back until we learn to manage it properly by the fishermen themselves.
(Retired) Capt. Wilfred Bartlett