Fans of Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch
Just watched a feature on the news here (UK) about a second lobster hatchery being started to ensure a sustainable market. Has this ever been done with crab, and given the declining numbers, would it be worth investigating?
From what I saw, it ensures a fishery for as long as the hatchery is in operation, and that could be very useful for our Bering Sea soldiers. They release the lobsters back into the wild at two months old, where they can mature in safety, ready to be caught. The idea was apparently pioneered in the Orkney islands, but I think it could be at least worth discussion for crab.
What do you guys think?
Per Capt. Keith (F/V Wizard), the crab catch (US only) in the Bering Sea is very regulated to ensure sustainability. It's actually the best regulated fishery in the world. That's one of the reasons you see the boys dumping females and juveniles back. Also, for each species (again from Capt. Keith) the pots are different. The mesh in the pots are different sizes to allow the smaller crabs (juveniles and females) to escape. Also, they do not fish during the summer months when the crabs are molting and mating. Another added safety factor is that the material the mesh is made from will actually disintegrate after 30 days in the water so if a full pot is lost, the crabs will survive and escape. Apparently there is a problem with illegal fishing (from the other side of the Bering Sea) and the Canadian fishery is not so well regulated, with fishing continuing in the summer months. The Canadian Coast Coast Guard has teamed up with the US Coast Guard (per the US Coast Guard) to try to stop illegal fishing. With this said, and being an East Coast Canadian, I think it is high time Canada revamped it's fishing regulations on the West Coast. Here on the East Coast they seem to be determined to put the fishermen out of business, especially the inshore fishermen. (Cutting quotas, new licensing rules, banning catching certain species, (this won't be popular) allowing seals to proliferate to huge numbers, allowing too many foreign countries to fish in our waters and by not strictly regulating draggers both foreign and domestic, (which ruin spawning grounds).
We are having big problems with salmon farms being set up in small bays & coves and wrecking havoc on the lobster fishery due to the antibiotics, pesticides, and pollution from the feed & waste from the fish going into the waters where our lobster live and reproduce.
I am not completely anti fish farming/hatcheries. It works if it is regulated closely and carefully and limited to areas where it is not going to negatively impact on other fisheries. But I think it would be a mistake to try to do it in the Bering Sea where the US government and the fishermen are working diligently to protect the crab fishery. Global warming, which is having a big negative effect on Canadian East Coast fisheries all along the coast right up past Newfoundland/Labrador, might make fish farming for all species a necessity for us.