P.E.I. holding firm on wanting carapace measure left alone

Eric McCarthy
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ALBERTON-- While the gap between P.E.I. and New Brunswick lobster fishermen on the carapace size issue might still be as wide as the Northumberland Strait, the managing director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association is finding common ground on quality.

P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia fishermen representatives attended a Lobster Fishing Area 25 advisory group meeting Wednesday to discuss and clarify their positions.

With little movement on their carapace positions, Ian MacPherson said the groups agreed to move on to another issue and had a good discussion on lobster quality.

“What we suggested is there’s opportunity here for industry harvesting groups, to sit down and really have some open and  frank discussion about how we get the quality up, because everybody benefits,” MacPherson summarized.

What seems to be happening, MacPherson suggested is that whenever someone does not look after the catch properly, either at the harvester level or buyer level, “everybody gets pulled down to their level, price-wise. We’ve got to work together to reverse that trend. That’s a no-win situation.”

On the carapace issue, MacPherson said PEI is standing firm that it does not want to see the carapace measure grow beyond 72 mm.

The minimum measure throughout LFA 25 is due to move to 72 m from 71 this year and P.E.I. then wants it left alone to protect its niche market for canner lobsters.

It’s not within DFO’s mandate to deal with economic issues Ian MacPherson, PEIFA managing director

Groups in New Brunswick have been pushing hard for the measure to move to 73 mm this year and to 77 by 2015.

While the dispute is moving on to the senior management level of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for further consideration, MacPherson says Island fishermen feel DFO has no role to play in this issue.

“It’s not within DFO’s mandate to deal with economic issues. One of our positions has been that this whole discussion about what buyers want and what certain processors want is really a discussion for the marketplace and not for DFO to dictate.”

MacPherson feels the issue can actually be self-regulated. “Quite frankly, if New Brunswick doesn’t want 72 mm lobsters, they can simply dictate that to their harvesters and that would be it. It doesn’t require legislation or changes or any of that.”

He agrees P.E.I. and New Brunswick have different opinions on whether the carapace increase is needed for conservation. P.E.I.’s position is that stocks are healthy and are at or above targeted levels for sustainability.


Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: P.E.I., New Brunswick, P.E.I. Fishermen Nova Scotia Lobster Fishing Area Iceland

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Recent comments

  • shawn ellsworth
    February 17, 2013 - 11:07

    i totally agree if there is a buyer that just wants the big lobsters then just buy big lobsters, don't jeperodize the rest of the fleet because of a couple of plants that probably couldn't handle all the lobsters in district 25 to begin with. I just got into fishing 8 years ago and reason i bought was to make a living for my family and since i bought we've had to do something every year and as i can see it and my finacial situatuion shows that its costing me more to keep my gear than it is to keep it, and i guarantee if we get put up to 77 mm, i am one of many fisherman that will be forced out of something i love to do, just don't make sense, but i guess that's life.....

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 16, 2013 - 11:27

    Is this what the fishers signed on for? We need to be able to rglulate ourselves. We are the ones that know what we need. I assume the feds used a fear tactic to get us to go along with this stuff anyway because that is how they always do things. They create or allow a problem to exist, then they watch us get frantic about it, we get all upset, etc., then they come along with the solution and usually the solution costs us in one way or another. We are not a free people. We are slaves, living in indebted servitude to the banks and the tax man. Nothing has changed in hundreds of years. We are still being controlled by kings and queens and princes (Stephen Harper, Robert Ghiz and Gail Shea). It is time for another uprising against our current monarchy.