We hear a lot about the hard times many folks in fisheries are going through these days. The crab business, however, is booming.
West Coast Now spoke recently with Megan Eadie, the executive director of Area A Crab Association, to get her take on why the crab industry is so successful and what she loves about the fishery.
“It’s a species that you can get fresh. You can eat it right away. You can know who your harvester is. That’s my favourite part about it.”Megan Eadie, the executive director of Area A Crab Association
Area A represents the zone around Haida Gwaii and Hecate Strait. “It’s the largest crab area by landings in B.C., so it often represents more than 50% of all crab landed in the province,” said Eadie.
“So here we fish for Dungeness crab, which is quite different than the crab fished on the east coast of Canada, snow crab. Our B.C. crab fishery is incredibly sustainable. And you can go down to the dock in a lot of places to meet your harvester and get fresh crab from them,” she said.
“It’s a species that you can get fresh. You can eat it right away. You can know who your harvester is. That’s my favourite part about it,” Eadie said.
The Area A Crab Association’s commitment to sustainability explains why “a lot of fishermen support MPAs.” But their support for marine protected areas and marine conservation is conditional. “They want it done in a way that is accurate to science . . . so that we are not just arbitrarily putting in marine protected areas to say something is protected,” Eadie told West Coast Now.
“We would like to see more science done on crab because, as harvesters, we see that there are plenty of them, but DFO doesn’t do science on crab larval studies or anything like that.”Meagan Eadie
Area A is responsible for the soft shell charter for the fishery, meaning “we’re deciding when to open and close the fishery based on the shell condition of the crab to ensure that we’re not harvesting when crabs are particularly vulnerable.”
“I am hopeful for the future of the crab fishery in particular,” she said. “I would love to see more support for our harvesters specifically, but financially they’re doing quite well, and our fishery seems to be doing quite well in general where crab populations and crab landings are still quite high.”
In relation to support, Eadie said, “We would like to see more science done on crab because, as harvesters, we see that there are plenty of them, but DFO doesn’t do science on crab larval studies or anything like that.”