North & Central Coast — CRAB AREA B
Fish harvesters use wire traps submerged on the seafloor to catch Dungeness crab. Traps are attached to lines and marked by floats on the surface. Each vessel uses a unique colour pattern on their buoys in order to identify their traps. The traps attract crab with bait and capture them live. Fish harvesters regularly haul their traps to check their catch.
Crab traps consist of a round steel frame covered with nylon or wire netting. The traps capture crab live by attracting them through an entrance to the centre of the trap where the bait is located. Once inside the trap, the larger crabs are unable to escape. All commercial traps have an escape hatch to allow small crabs and fish to get out.
Fish harvesters attach one or more traps on a line and set them on the ocean floor. Each fishing vessel has a limit of 400 traps. There are 13 licensed vessels in this crab fishing area.
The crab fishery is managed by effort control, which involves limits to the number of boats, traps and fishing days. A number of measures address conservation in the fishery. These include:
Jan 01 - Dec 31
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans manages this fishery under an integrated fishery management plan for all crab in British Columbia. Click the following link to visit the government's fishery management page.
For the most recent crab stock status, check the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s science advisory reports at this link
Local fish harvesters pride themselves on catching crab with a hard shell. Proper handling is paramount for crab quality and health. Once landed aboard, crabs are graded, and undersized, soft-shelled and female crab are returned to the ocean. The live crab are then placed in chilled, circulating water in the vessel’s hold. At the dock, the crab are sold and shipped live to market. Some crab are also canned, cooked or frozen.
In some cases, fish harvesters hold their live crab in storage facilities at the dock. These floating cages are moored off the docks. Tides and currents flush the crab with seawater. Fish harvesters typically hold crabs in hopes that the market prices will improve later or to sell crabs directly to local customers.