One month after the start of the crawfish season the consensus among the fishermen seems to be the same from one end of the island to the other: the crustaceans are in slightly less number than last year. However, there is the report of a fisherman from Mount Hope who brought home over five hundred pounds of fish on the first day.
But others, such as Robin Albury who went at sea for two weeks, said that so far the season was pretty average. The weather has also proved uncooperative. For part of August fishermen were confronted with lightning and squalls and on many occasions found a lot of undersized crawfish in the traps. Also, there were reports by several fishermen that traps were worked before the start of the season, though no arrests could be made.
According to Leon Pinder with the Department of Marine Resources in Cooper’s Town, fishermen who had prepared traps brought back an average of 100-150 pounds a day. The ones who did not have traps and went spear fishing reported to catch half of that amount. None-the-less, he thought that so far fishing around Little Abaco and Grand Cay had gone fairly well.
Ronald Russell, who runs M & R Seafood in Fox Town, confirmed that the numbers of crawfish brought by fishermen were slightly down, but he thinks that when the water cools down the season will pick up
Most of the fishing in the North is done around Little Abaco within twelve to twenty miles of shore.
If the results were slightly down in the North, according to long time fisherman, James Green from Sandy Point, it was more like a 10% drop in the South.
His traps released much less craw fish than last year. From the second day, he said, he had to depend on spear fishing for his catch up until now. Even going as far as Bimini he did not catch as much as in the previous years. The crawfish are big but in less numbers than last year, he commented. The largest amount brought back to shore by a single fisherman in Sandy Point was approximately 300 pounds on the first day. The average daily weight retrieved from traps is approximately 60 to 70 pounds.
He too attributes the low number to the heat and warm temperature of the water and hopes than when the weather cools down, there will be more fish around.
Starting at $7.00 per pound the first two weeks of the season, the price for crawfish went up to $8.00 the third week of August.