Crab landings positive despite zone closures, processing plant workers feeling the pinch

Ottawa is painting a positive picture of the local crab fishery, despite challenges caused by the closure of several fishing zones in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

After four and a half weeks of fishing, crab landings this season total $148 million, up from $112 million in 2016.

The increase is mostly due to an increase in the price of crab:  $11 per kilogram, an increase of nearly $3 from two years ago.

Fishermen also harvested just 61 per cent of their overall quota, down from 68 per cent in 2016.

But the union representing local processing plant employees says workers are working fewer hours this season, mostly because fishermen are off-loading and selling their catch at wharfs outside of New Brunswick because of their proximity to the fishing zone.

Jean-Maurice Leclair says the government should have implemented measures requiring fishermen to sell their catch at their home wharves.

(with files from the Acadie-Nouvelle)