New Project to Evaluate Snow Crab Fishing Vessel Offloading
Friday, February 22, 2013

A new project funded through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program will evaluate offloading practices aboard crab vessels. The project's objective is to ensure fishing enterprises have efficient and safe procedures in place.

"As the average age of workers aboard fishing vessels increases, it has become obvious that processes aboard fishing vessels must change to ensure the efficiency and safety of offloading for all workers," said the Honourable Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "This project acknowledges the changing face of the harvesting sector and will ultimately pave the way for new ways of offloading.

Crab fishing is one of our most active fisheries throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and therefore there are hundreds of workers that the outcome of this project could potentially benefit."

The overall project, which is valued at $48,185, received $16,900 in funding from the Provincial Government. It will be carried out by the Memorial University of Newfoundland's Fisheries and Marine Institute at the Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation and DWI Services Limited.

It will provide a comprehensive understanding of the current practices in offloading crab from vessels over 35 feet in length. It will also provide an assessment of current constraints associated with this sector of the fishery.

The different sizes and shapes of access hatches aboard vessels will be documented, and will lead to the development of a new offloading system concept. In addition, the project will create conceptual ideas of how to improve the current offloading processes and will facilitate discussion with stakeholders.

"This is a very important project that can help a lot of people," said Heather Manuel, Director, Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development. "If we can make the crab offloading process less physically demanding and more efficient, then it's a worthwhile venture by any measure. We'd like to thank the Provincial Government and our partners for giving us the financial means to undertake this project and allowing Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development to start research that could lead to improvements for fisher people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador."

The Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program is an important component of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy. Since the launch of the program in 2007, the Provincial Government has invested approximately $8.6 million toward over 200 projects, leveraging an additional $29 million from industry and other partners.

Budget 2012 allocated $2.2 million for the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program, as part of a three-year, $6.6 million total investment.