PEIFA’s snow crab fishery about to start

Eric McCarthy
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ALBERTON -- Boats could be heading out to start fishing the P.E.I. Fishermen Association’s snow crab allocation as early as this weekend, PEIFA executive director Ian MacPherson said Thursday.

Seventy-two fishermen were each awarded allocations of 11,020 pounds of snow crab following a draw the association conducted on April 30.

None of those winning fishermen actually get to fish for the crabs, though. They sold their allocation during a meeting that the PEIFA arranged with interested buyers. Four buyers attended.

MacPherson said those buyers will then hire crab boats – usually the ones that participate in the traditional snow crab fishery - to harvest the PEIFA’s allocation. Buyers can assign up to 10 of the permits per boat, MacPherson explained.

Th help limit the number of bats DFO has to monitor at one time and to prevent too much product flooding the market at one time, the FA’s allocation usually doesn’t get fished until the traditional fishery is winding down.

“We’re getting things in place,” he said. “It looks like some of the boats might go out this weekend.”

MacPherson said 348 fishermen registered for the draw. All 348 names were drawn but only the top 72, after passing eligibility scrutiny, get to participate. Fishermen whose license was already drawn as a winner in the draw, as well as members of the traditional fleet and anyone who received an allotment under groundfish dependency, are not eligible.

Since the start of the PEIFA draws in 1995 there still remain close to 400 fishermen who have not yet had their names drawn for a snow crab allotment.

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