Newfoundland Snow Crab Quota Set at 35,419 Tons, 22% Less Than Last Year
The Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans has announced snow crab quotas for the fishing areas around Newfoundland. The overall quota will decrease around 22 percent from last year's quota. The major reduction by volume is in area 3L. The 3K area quota did not get cut significantly while the 3PS the quota was slashed 50 percent. Prior to the release of the quota, industry estimates were that about 33,000 tons would be allowed in Newfoundland. So the DFO numbers are slightly more favorable than expected. The fishery will start on April 6th in most parts of 3L and 3Ps, and April 14th in 3K.
A team of seven respected fisheries scientists, led by Prof. Ray Hilborn, Ph. D., of the University of Washington, found that predator populations are less dependent on specific forage fish species than assumed in previous studies. These findings counter a previous study that argued forage fish are twice as valuable when left in the water to be eaten by predators, and recommended slashing forage fish catch rates by 50 to 80 percent. “Forage fish provide some of the lowest environmental cost food in the world – low carbon footprint, no water use, ” Dr. Hilborn said. “[There are] lots of reasons that forage fish are a really environmentally friendly form of food.”
In other news, by as early as May 1st the free trade deal between the EU and Canada, known as the CETA deal, will come into effect. This means the duty rates for some Canadian seafood exports to the EU market, including live lobster, will drop to zero essentially overnight. Both the US and Canada currently have the same duty rates for live lobster exported to the EU, but this will all change under CETA. This means Canadian producers will get a significant export advantage over Maine's lobster industry. This could put the US in a position where they may have to reduce their lobsters prices to compete with Canadian shippers.
Meanwhile, the pink shrimp season in Washington, Oregon and California officially stated over the weekend on April 1. But this year, many boats are still in port and many haven't even put shrimp nets on their vessels. The few who did test the waters found female shrimp that haven't dropped their eggs yet. Some of the shrimp on the grounds are in the 350-500 size or smaller. Fishermen said they would prefer to have the 250-350 size or larger, as it fetches a better price. They said much of the current global inventory of coldwater shrimp is in the 350-500 size.
Finally, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey were asked to support a state-sponsored bill that would allow for the sale, processing and transport of lobster parts in the state of Massachusetts. The bill was co-sponsored by 13th Bristol District Rep. Antonio Cabral and is supported by Seatrade International, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and Ed Anthes-Washburn, the executive director of the Harbor Development Committee. Proponents of the law say it will create more jobs in the state. The practice is already legal in Maine and New Hampshire.
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