The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced late Friday afternoon that the snow crab fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will begin Saturday at 11 pm.
The catch begins two weeks, if not three, after Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who indicated in March that he would do everything in his power to start the fishery early in April.
This commitment was to mitigate the effects of Saturday’s imposition of a 14,000 square kilometer exclusion zone in the Gulf to protect the right whale. The crabbers, who had denounced the imposition of this exclusion zone so early, will have to do without placing their lockers in this large quadrilateral.
The quota for the main area, 12, was set at 20,723 metric tonnes. For the entire southern Gulf, the quota is 24613 tonnes. This is a drop of 43.4% compared to last year, an exceptional year.
The price will remain high this year. Gaspesians and Madelinots share this area with Maritime fishermen.