Snow crab fishermen are expecting to do well this year following a 50 per cent increase in the price per pound they receive, the head of the Canadian Federation of Professional Fishermen in New Brunswick says.
The price hike can be partly attributed to the imposition of lower quotas last year by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Jean Lanteigne said. The lower quotas were imposed to protect the stock.
Prices have jumped to $3 and even as high as $3.50 per pound this year, up from $2 per pound last year he said.
"The volume of it is so low that, you know, the allocation being attributed from DFO this year is so low that is creating a demand on the market," Lanteigne said.
In 2010, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans cut the allowable catch of snow crab in the Gulf of St. Lawrence by 63 per cent. The change affected snow crab fishing fleets in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Quebec.
The Japanese are still buying Canadian crab, and the American economy is picking up, he said.
Also helping, Lanteigne said, is the fact that many U.S. consumers are avoiding seafood that comes from the Gulf of Mexico because of last year's BP oil spill.
"If it's coming from Canada, then definitively it's not coming from a possible place where there's some pollution," he said. "That's the first indication that we have that's creating a demand for the Canadian crab."
Lanteigne said crab fishermen are still upset that DFO cut their quota, but he said the resulting higher prices are a help.