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No opening in sight for P.E.I. snow crab fishery

In preparation for the upcoming snow crab season, fishing boats are reappearing at Prince Edward Island fishing ports, including Northport Wharf in Alberton Harbour.
In preparation for the upcoming snow crab season, fishing boats are reappearing at Prince Edward Island fishing ports, including Northport Wharf in Alberton Harbour in this file photo.

NORTHPORT, P.E.I. - The president of the P.E.I. Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association was hoping a scheduled ice committee call on Thursday would have shed some light on when fishermen would be able to get their boats out to set their gear.

But Carter Hutt said the call was cancelled, and he is no closer to knowing when the boats will get out.

“It doesn’t even look good for next week,” he said Friday, adding he still hadn’t received word on a re-scheduled ice committee conference call.

During meetings over the winter, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and fishermen’s groups expressed a hope that the season would start earlier than normal this year, around April 20.  

Related: P.E.I.'s snow crab season still on ice, but fishermen remain hopeful of early opening

Hutt said pack ice pressed against the northern New Brunswick is proving challenging for coast guard ice-breakers and is delaying the launch of large snow crab boats in Shippagan, Lemèque and Caraquet.

“They said it is like the middle of winter,” he said in relaying how fishermen from that region have described ice conditions to him.

Hutt said the 27-member Prince Edward Island fleet is ready to go as soon as conditions in northern New Brunswick improve enough to allow the Area 12 crab fishery to open. He suggests that opening is now going to be close to the scheduled April 29 opening of the Prince Edward Island spring lobster fishery.

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