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Commerical Fishing

The coastal economy continues to be strengthened by the commercial fishing industry. This industry has had severe cutbacks over the last ten years, but it continues to support coastal communities and contribute to the ways of life of many coastal residents. Between 10,000 and 15,000 people are employed in the commercial fishing industry.

On the north coast, the commercial fishery is still an essential economic driver. Over 2,500 north coast residents work in the commercial fishery. The fishing industry has paid an average annual wage of over $27 million by processors located in Prince Rupert and Port Edward alone. In addition, fishermen catch over $100 million worth of fish annually on the north coast. Even with all the problems experienced by the commercial fishery over the last few years, the fishing industry has generated over $135 million to north coast communities on an average annual basis over the past ten years.

The crab fishery makes a substantial economic contribution to the north coast economy. Crabs caught in Hecate Strait contribute $22 million to B.C.’s economy with 85 percent of that money contributing to the north coast economy. As of 2004, there were 222 licensed crab vessels, 41 operating on the north coast in Hecate Strait. The industry also provides 146 jobs annually. However, a recent study on the east coast found snow crabs to be particularly sensitive to seismic testing. Reported damage included: significant damage to crab ovaries, changes in crab behaviour and a loss of legs.

  For more information about the economic importance of the north coast crab fishery click here.

  For more information about the impacts of seismic testing on crabs click here.

Photo credit: Bruce Burrows

The commercial fishing industry supports over 16,000 jobs on the fishing grounds and in processing facilities and contributes at least $1 billion dollars to the economy of B.C. At least half of the fish caught in British Columbia live in or migrate through the Hecate Strait / Queen Charlotte Sound region.