The crab dream season is over

In Boston in March at the Seafood Expo North America, all hopes came true. The market was at a record high, and Fisheries and Oceans announced a significant increase in quotas.

But consumers and networks have decided otherwisecomments on Bill Sheehan, Vice President of E. Gagnon and son of Saint-Theres de Gaspe

In Gaspez, as in New Brunswick, prices, which were about $ 8.50 at the beginning of the season, fell and now fluctuate around $ 6 per pound. They will be adjusted at the end of the season.

Bill Sheehan and Paul Magdalen, a traditional crab fisherman at the Magdalen Islands, agree that the prices are still good, but say the season is much more difficult than last year.

Mainly for factoriesnotes Paul Boudreau.

Mr Boudreau added that fishermen on the Magdalen Islands were concerned. This worries the world a lot. People were optimistic at the beginning of the season and probably too optimistic, but the market wanted to recover because the price of crab was definitely too high compared to what buyers are willing to pay for this product.

Madelino crab fishermen are preparing for the beginning of the crab fishing season (archive).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Luc Manuel Soares

For Paul Boudreau, it was inflation that first came into play.

The snow crab is mostly sold in the United States, where it is on the menu of cruises and casinos. $ ou 250$ de plus du billet parce qu’ils vont servir du crabe à manger au monde. Ça fait que là les gens font des choix et ils prennent des substituts, ce qui fait en sorte que le marché est réduit”,”text”:”C’est sûr que les croisiéristes ne peuvent pas nécessairement vendre une croisière 200$ ou 250$ de plus du billet parce qu’ils vont servir du crabe à manger au monde. Ça fait que là les gens font des choix et ils prennent des substituts, ce qui fait en sorte que le marché est réduit”}}”>Of course, cruise companies don’t necessarily sell a cruise for $ 200 or $ 250 more than a ticket because they’re going to serve crabs all over the world. People make choices and accept substitutes, which reduces the marketillustrates Mr. Boudreau.

Bill Sheehan, who is also president of the Quebec Industry Association de la Pesch (AQIP), notes that several external elements have stopped the industry’s optimism.

It is beyond our control, he says, as an exchange rate, as the war in Ukraine, as whales, so there are many factors that we do not really control, but have a direct impact on the price.

E. Gagnon factory workers at work.

Crab sells much worse, according to vice president of the plant E. Gagnon (archive).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Martin Toulgoat

He explains that one of the factors in the fall in prices is the presence of Russian crab on the American market.

Last year, according to Bill Sheehan, Russian imports accounted for just over 36% of the crab market at 110 million pounds. US President Joe Biden has imposed an embargo on these imports, but it will not begin until June 23.

This delay is causing headaches for Gulf processors as Russian crabs rush to sell their products ahead of schedule. Every price we put up for sale gulf crab, the price of Russian crab to get rid of it, decreasesnotes Bill Sheehan.

snow crab

One of the elements explaining the fall in prices is the presence of Russian crab in the US market, according to Bill Sheehan.

Photo: Radio Canada / CBC

This temporal dynamics creates a downward spiral. This broke the marketthe president notesAQIP. When the market falls, buyers instead of planning their purchases for the next 12 months, watch the market collapse.

As a result, the American market is stagnant, and the Persian Gulf crab is no longer sold there. In factories, it moves a little, but drop by dropsays Bill Sheehan. In fact, the situation is not the same as in the last few years. It’s hard to move. We probably sold half. In other years, it was sold almost in advance.

The same story is at the Fruits de mer de l’Est-du-Québec plant in Matan, where the plant’s technical director, Stefan Garon, speaks of a closed market and sales well below expectations.

However, Bill Sheehan notes that the market is stabilizing.

Fishing that is getting harder

Meanwhile, on the water, in Gaspa, fishing is not going as well as expected. Crabs went to sea much later than we would like. Then they lost their fishing days due to bad weather.

The challenges posed by the closure of large fish farms to protect whales from entanglement have caught up with them.

The good weather made it easier to find whales, and several fishing areas were closed, according to crabber spokesman Daniel Debois. % du golfe.”,”text”:”Cinq ou six baleines, dit-il, ont fermé 80% du golfe.”}}”>According to him, five or six whales covered 80% of the bay.

Daniel Debois, President of the Gaspezi Crab Association

Daniel Debois believes that most crabs in Gaspa will not be able to catch their entire quota (archives).

Photo: Radio Canada

According to the president of the Association des crabiers gaspésiens, fishermen have so far caught just under 70% of their quotas.

On the other hand, the last weeks of fishing promise to be tougher in zone 12, where several fishing zones are closed. These closures and reopens are a real headache.

During the interview, Daniel Debois was just about to go out to sea to get lockers. Last trip I moved the lockers because the area is closedhe says. I’m going to look for them there because it just closed where I put them. You just found a fish, you go home, and before you get to the port, to the place where you just put [les casiers] Closed. It completely changes my fishing pattern.

In addition, several fishermen will be in one place at the end of the season, when the catch is usually smaller.

Daniel Debois believes that most fishermen will not be able to catch their entire quota until June 30. % en général ce sera bien”,”text”:”Si on atteint 80% en général ce sera bien”}}”>If we reach 80% overall, it will be goodassessed by Mr. Debua.

According to Paul Boudreau, crabs from the Magdalene Islands are a little better. He estimates that most crabs have already taken two-thirds of their quota and will be able to catch what they have been given.

In collaboration with Alice Prue

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