Assessing the Technical and Economic Viability of Galvanizing Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) Traps

Brown, Peter Wilfred and Araya-Schmidt, Tomas and Bungay, Terry and Winger, Paul D. (2024) Assessing the Technical and Economic Viability of Galvanizing Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) Traps. Fishes, 9 (3). p. 109. ISSN ISSN 2410-3888

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Commercial harvesting of snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) began in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, in 1967. Today, the fishery consists of 2188 active fishing licenses and has grown into the province’s most economically valuable fishery. Snow crabs are captured using conical traps consisting of a mild carbon steel frame, hard plastic entry funnel and a jacket of polyethylene netting. The frames of these traps corrode over time, which is expedited by being deployed in marine environments and stored on land near the ocean when not in use. As a result, there is interest within the community to increase the longevity of crab traps. One solution is to galvanize the steel frames prior to installing the funnel and netting. However, before harvesters transition to galvanized traps, two questions must be answered. Will the use of galvanized steel negatively impact catch rates? Will the life cycle of a crab trap be extended sufficiently to justify the additional cost of galvanizing? This study employed a generalized linear mixed model to evaluate the catch of legal-sized male crabs (CPUE) during the commercial fishery as a function of three trap frame treatments (old traditional, new traditional and new galvanized). We also assessed the economic viability of galvanizing trap frames by evaluating the life cycle cost (LCC) of traditional and galvanized traps to the harvester. The LCC was calculated over a range of inflation (0–6%) and discount (3–20%) rates. Our results found no significant difference in CPUE between new traps (traditional vs. galvanized) and concluded that except during instances of very high discount rates (12.9–19.9%), it is economically favourable to galvanize crab trap frames.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 16408
Keywords: snow crab fisheries; crab traps; crab pots; capture per unit effort; galvanizing; net present value; life cycle cost; sustainability
Department(s): Marine Institute > Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development
Marine Institute
Date: 19 March 2024
Date Type: Publication
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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