Feel­ing the pinch

Kevin Black­wood could be out hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars af­ter cuts to the crab quota an­nounced

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL

It won’t be the year that sinks his en­ter­prise, but Greenspond fish­er­man Kevin Black­wood fore­sees a tough sea­son ahead.

The De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans (DFO) an­nounced the 2018 snow crab quota on April 5. This year’s To­tal Al­low­able Catch (TAC) for the NL re­gion was set at 28,975 tonnes – an over­all quota de­crease of 17 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

While some ar­eas saw a mar­ginal in­crease—for ex­am­ple, 3K is up 2 per cent — oth­ers hav­ing been cut up to 30 per cent.

Black­wood fishes within the 3L mid-shore area, which runs from Bon­av­ista Bay down through the Avalon. This year’s quota was set at 2,581 tonnes for the small sup­ple­men­tary fish­ery, and 1,072 tonnes for the large sup­ple­men­tary.

As a re­sult, he said the an­nounce­ment came with a 30 per cent cut, roughly 54,000 pounds of crab, to his in­di­vid­ual and shared quo­tas.

With this year’s crab price set at $4.55 per pound, it will mean hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in lost rev­enue.

While his Greenspond fish­ing en­ter­prise is es­tab­lished, there are still bills to pay, such as the pur­chase of a new li­cence.

Black­wood says it will be a tight year, and that the lost in­come af­fects his crew as well be­cause half of the boat’s

earn­ings are split among its six mem­bers.

While the sci­ence pointed to­ward cuts and he knew it was com­ing, Black­wood feels a 30 per cent re­duc­tion was too much, be­cause it wasn’t re­flected by the catch rates.

In 3L, he said, catch rates last year av­er­aged 22 pounds of crab per pot with 18-20 in­di­vid­u­als in each pot, which he called “good fish­ing.”

“We were think­ing 15 to 20 per cent in cuts,” he said.

That, he said, would have al­lowed for stock re­cov­ery while al­low­ing fish­er­men to main­tain a more sta­ble in­come.

“I’m 45, I’ve got a life­time left in this fish­ery and it’s where I want to con­tinue to work, so we’re not out to de­stroy this fish­ery,” he said. “We want a sus­tain­able fish­ery as much as any­body.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Greenspond fish­er­man Kevin Black­wood fore­sees a tough year ahead, af­ter crab quota re­duc­tions has him out hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.

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