O’LEARY -- Members of the Prince County Fishermen’s Association berated the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Friday for its insistence that fishermen use paper logbooks this year to record their effort in lobster and other fisheries, and suggested the department should wait until it is ready to roll with electronic data collection.
”They can’t do anything with it,” Mark McRae said of the data the department would collect. DFO isn’t making use of the data it collects from the rock crab and scallop fisheries, he suggested during the PCFA’s annual meeting.
While there was some suggestion the data could provide useful scientific information, fishermen felt DFO does not have the manpower to input the information and argued the Department should delay the license condition until it is set up to accept electronic data.
PCFA president Lee Knox acknowledged scientific data is important for the industry, pointing out scientific information helped his association resist pressure from New Brunswick last year to increase minimum carapace size, but he said his association and others feel the demand for paper logbooks is ill-timed.
We had all agreed on our rationalization (plans) that we’re going with electronic monitoring in place by 2014. DFO doesn’t have the data bank right now to put in electronic monitoring. They have nowhere to store it. They’re hoping to have it in place by 2015 or 16 and they want to get the information no, so they decided to put the logbooks out until they have electronic monitoring in place,” Knox reported.
“But we’re definitely not in favour of it, because DFO is short-handed now. We don’t know how they are going to put all this data somewhere.”
Trevor Barlow argued the department would be collecting useless information.
Knox said the PCFA and other fishermen’s groups will continue to demand DFO give up on the paper logbooks.