The Area A Dungeness crab fleet has developed practices to reduce and remove lost traps from the fishing grounds. For approximately 20 years, the annual softshell crab charter program has included gear recovery in the Hecate Strait.
This year, the annual crab gear cleanup was completed by the fishing vessel, The Nanruss. The crew dedicated 6.5 days to trap recovery. In that time, 251 traps were recovered, removing almost 50,000 feet of vertical line and 11.5 tonnes of fishing gear from the Hecate Strait and McIntyre Bay. Usable gear was returned to vessels, and end-of-life gear was recycled or disposed of. In 2022, 6 traps will be repurposed into garden beds at the Sndoyntga Lax Kx’een ada Maxłaxaała garden (Kaien/Kxeen Island Urban Farm). It’s messy business but an important step to ensure stewardship of the crab. Prior to 2021, this industry initiative has been organized and funded by harvesters since 1997 and offset by revenue selling usable gear back to owners. This year, the annual gear recovery was funded by the Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Program from Fisheries and Ocean Canada.