Renardo Bain fishes to support himself, but during the summer months, he supplements his income by engaging in crabbing to sell at market – a lucrative seasonal activity for Androsians.
Bain, 36, who says he’s been “crabbing since I know myself” says that if he hadn’t been allowed to catch crabs to sell this season due to the restrictions put in place nationally in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, it would have been “hard” for him.
“The crab season is very important to Androsians. Crabbing is something I grew up doing, and to just stop doing it would be very hard,” said the Central Andros resident.
The money he makes from selling crabs he says is extra money for him.
“You have some people who can make up to $10,000 or more during a season,” said Bain.
He says a sack of crabs that are ordered, sells for approximately $200; when the crustaceans are sold retail, he said a sack can net the seller approximately $300 or more as they then sell the crabs by the size. Each sack holds eight dozen crabs.
The crab season starts in May and runs through the summer months sometimes as late as October, depending on the weather. Crabbers say as long as it’s wet, the crustaceans stay out.
When he engages in crabbing, Bain said he catches crabs Monday to Sunday, day and night. During a season, he said he can catch up to 50 sacks of crabs at the least, “depending on how crabs walking”.
He estimates he already has crabs to fill about seven sacks.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, during his national address on Sunday, announced that on those Family Islands allowed to resume commercial activity, that residents will be allowed to “catch crabs for themselves and for sale during the evenings of weekday curfew and weekend lockdowns.”
Abaco, which has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, was among the islands able to resume commercial activity, effective yesterday.
Prior to the prime minister’s announcement, Bain had already caught his fair share of crabs. He’s one of those people that will venture into the bushes in search of crabs rather than wait for the crabs to come to him.
Bain has customers in New Providence who in turn retail the seasonal crustacean.
“If I want to, I can just send [the seven sacks I now have] over to them, but I’m not in a rush to do anything,” he told The Nassau Guardian.
While Bain has crabs ready to go, Diane Cash, 65, who relocated to Andros 32 years ago with her husband, and who has been crabbing ever since she moved to the island, doesn’t have her first crab yet. She does not venture into the bushes in search of crabs for fear of getting lost. She instead waits for the crabs to come to her.
When she sees them walking the roads or in her yard, which she says happens, she swoops them up.
“I don’t have to go nowhere. I be right home and get it home. You can catch crabs night or day, but they walk more at night. They walk when it rains, but if it’s too wet, they won’t come out, but they will come out. And if they hear a lot of noise they won’t come out. But when it gets calm and they hear less noise, they have to come out because they have to have their children.”
While she does not go in search of crabs, she says the money she makes from crabbing during the season is important to her.
“The season is important, because you can go and get your li’l crabs, sell them, make your li’l money, buy the things you need to fix your house up with, because the island, [you] always need to fix things up. If you sell them [crabs] for $25 a dozen, you can make a couple of dollars well, but you gatta treat your crabs good, because if you mistreat your crabs, when you get to Nassau, all will die. So, you have to take your time, feed them, don’t rough them up.”
Cash, who lives in Dorsette Mangrove Cay, says she was pleased at the prime minister’s announcement because the money she makes from selling crabs during the season helps to support her grandson who lives with her.
If the prime minister did not give the go-ahead for crabs to be sold, Cash says she had her plan in place.
“I would phone up my friends and friends would tell other friends, and that’s how I would have to make it this year. I just have to send it over, and we get the money through the mail and we work with it like that.”
Unlike Bain, Cash hasn’t caught any crabs so far this season, but now that she’s been given the go-ahead, she says as soon as they start coming out, she’s ready for them.
“They’re going into the bush now, but when they come out, [when] they walk out, that’s when I go after them, because they have to walk out,” she said.
Cash says she can’t ever count the crab she catches seasonally.
“You catch so much crab, you be weak – your back hurt ya; you can’t count them.”