Snow crab fleet in no rush to hit the water

Eric McCarthy, Journal Pioneer
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ALBERTON -- It’s too early to start panicking about the 2014 snow crab season, acknowledges Carter Hutt, president of the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association.

It could be a couple of weeks before crews will be needed to offload crab boats. Ice is still keeping the fleet in port.

April 15 is generally looked upon as the earliest possible opening date for the snow crab fishery in the Southern Gulf, but with extreme ice conditions this spring, nobody was expecting to get out at that time.

Hutt said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans held a conference call with industry representatives last Friday to get a sense of what everyone was thinking about ice conditions. It was decided during that call to schedule another conference call for April 25 to discuss the next possible opening date.

“I think we’ll be going by the first of May, but I can’t see it being any earlier,” Hutt commented

If ice conditions improve dramatically, said Steve Hashie, with DFO’s communications branch, DFO and the fishermen can schedule an earlier call.

“There’s a lot of ice,” said Hutt. “The outside ice is going good, but I think they feel the harbor ice and the bay ice and stuff is going to be the problem right now.”

He is encouraged that the warm temperatures in the forecast for this week will make a big difference. A shift in the wind out of the northwest later in the week, he suggested, will help drive ice out of the way.

“I don’t think anybody’s got their hopes up too high (about getting out soon) because of the amount of snow and ice around,” Hutt said.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Southern Gulf

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