ALBERTON -- The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is issuing individual tags to 57 members of the P.E.I. tuna fleet. Six are going to aboriginal groups and 51 to licensed tuna fishermen in the province.
Those 57 tags represent the total number of tuna DFO estimates can still be landed before Prince Edward Island’s 2013 allocation of 125.979 metric tonnes is fully exploited.
A total of 356 tuna, with a total weight of 107.6823 MT, were landed by the P.E.I. fleet during the first phase of the commercial fishery which ran from July 15 to September 30. Most of those fish were landed late in the season.
There are 359 licenses attached to the P.E.I. fleet – 348 commercial licenses and 11 communal licenses -giving a success rate of over 99 per cent. It was not immediately known whether the three licenses that didn’t get a fish during the first round even participated in the fishery.
When the season reopens Friday at 5 a.m. there will be 18.3 MT of quota remaining to be caught.
The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association conducted a draw last month to determine who might be eligible for this reallocation. One hundred names were drawn, but tags are issued in the order they are drawn, to 51 commercial fishermen Aboriginal groups disperse their six tags.
DFO took the average weight of the tuna landed so far and factored it into the remaining allocation to come up with the estimate of 57 more fish needed to fill the quota. If the average weight of the remaining fish is greater than 302 kg it could take less than 57 tuna to fill the quota. DFO advises it will be monitoring the weight of the fish closely and will close the season when the allocation is used up, even if all 57 tags have not been used.