By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMIAN fishermen are confirming that crawfish prices have slumped 42 percent from last year’s high although catch volumes remain high.
Keith Carroll, the National Fisheries Association’s (NFA) president, told Tribune Business that while lobster prices have fallen by $9 - from 2021’s high of $21 per pound to $12 - many fishermen were enjoying the “largest ever season” for catch volumes.
“There is nothing we can do about the price; we just have to hope that this war or whatever is causing it will now ease up,” he said in reference to Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine. “I don’t think anybody is in the mood to cut demand to spike up the price. Nobody wants to take that chance. Everybody just wants to get back out there and fish.”
qPaul Mailis, a National Fisheries Association director, said there have been no “major sightings” of Dominican poachers and other nationalities reported to him. “We always have the clandestine poaching that comes in the form of tourist charters where they’re pretending to be a tourist, but they’re actually undertaking commercial fishing,” he added.
“Those things are always ongoing, and they’re a little bit harder to nab because of the sophisticated means that they employ, including bribery and evading law enforcement. So it’s always a challenge with those types of poachers. But in terms of large poachers from the south, I have not heard of any recent sightings, and I think that is because we’ve really stepped up our game in terms of our law enforcement efforts.
“The Defence Force is being helped greatly by our friends in the United States, and in Canada. with different technologies that have been put into place.”
Mr Mailis blamed the slump in crawfish prices on increased competition from South American countries who have previously stayed outside the spiny lobster market. “The only thing that I can really say without controversy is that there’s been more people in the market. So last year’s price was more of an anomaly than it was the norm, and then the market kind of corrected itself a little bit,” he added.
“Because now because the prices were so good last year internationally, for a lot of players in the Caribbean spiny market, other players entered the market from South America, so there’s a lot more people that are involved in the lobster market now.”
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