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Crab industry disappointed by extension to MSC certification suspension

Some Northport crab fishermen have already loaded their boats in anticipation of a Saturday opening of their season. Fisher groups participating in a conference call on Thursday are expected to consider a Saturday opening.
Northport crab fishermen. - Eric McCarthy/File

Success in protecting right whales had industry hopeful

ALBERTON, P.E.I. —

The president of the P.E.I. Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association says he’s anxious to learn how his members might be impacted by the continued suspension of the industry’s sustainable fishing certification.

“I’ve been asking questions for two days and nobody can give me the answers,” Carter Hutt said March 6 in response to the MSC decision to extend the suspension of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence’s snow crab certification for 2019.

Hutt said snow crab sales did not seem to be affected by last year’s suspension, but he’s unsure what that will mean this year.

The Marine Stewardship Council suspended the certification in 2018 in the wake of 12 right whale deaths in Canadian waters in 2017.

But there were no reported deaths last year and that had the snow crab fishery hopeful the suspension would be lifted.

Giles Thériault, president of the New Brunswick Crab Processors, issued a statement this week expressing disappointment and frustration with MSC’s position.

He said the industry and the Canadian government implemented many measures last year to protect the whales.

“We know sustaining and growing the right whale population is crucial and we have demonstrated that we can co-exist while harvesting snow crab in a sustainable, ecological and innovative manner,” Theriault said.

“The 2018 fishing season resulted in zero deaths of North Atlantic right whales thanks to hard work and dedication from many people within industry and government," he said.

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