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'Lost' Crawfish Season Fear From Irma Impact

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian fishermen fear the 2017-2018 crawfish season could be "lost" if Hurricane Irma significantly impacts this nation.

Keith Carroll, the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance's (BCFA) vice-president, yesterday said that just a month into the season - and the Bahamas in the projected path of a Category 4 storm - there was concern that the crawfish season that closes March 31 could be lost.

"These storms impact the seabed the same way it impacts land," he explained. "If the storm comes this way that is going to be really bad for fishermen, especially in the southern Bahamas. Fishermen who have their traps set can't move them. I have over 4,000 traps set. All fishing boats in the southern Bahamas are heading back in."

Bahamian fisherman were hoping that this crawfish season will be a repeat of 2016's, which was described as "one of the best in years" due to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force's efforts in combating poachers.

"Reports are that some of the guys have done OK, though not as good as last season," said Mr Carroll. "Fishermen in the northern Bahamas appear to be doing good, even better than last year, but it's not been as good in the southern Bahamas."

He added that poachers were to blame, suggesting they were seizing opportunities between Royal Bahamas Defence Force patrols in the area to poach. The BCFA has long voiced concerns over poaching by foreign fishermen, primarily Dominicans, and especially during the closed season.

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