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More viable lobster licence reduction plan to be implemented

Canadian lobster. (Photo Credit: Lobster Council of Canada)
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Friday, July 25, 2014, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) developed a new plan to allow Prince Edward Island (PEI ) and Nova Scotia fishermen to hold more than one lobster licence and reduce the number of traps in the water.
According to DFO head, Gail Shea, this new system, which is to start with the next spring's lobster fishery, will provide a better living for fishermen, since the new rules will allow fishermen on the North Shore of PEI and the Northumberland Strait between Nova Scotia and PEI to buy another lobster fishermen's licence out, CBS News reported.
“The one boat would be allowed to fish two licences, which is known as stacking. Some of the traps from the second licence, up to 50 per cent, would have to be retired,” a DFO press release highlighted.
And Minister Shea added: “It allows additional rationalization without costing the taxpayers anything, because what they do is they can stack the licences, but they can only stack one and a half.”
For his part, Craig Avery, president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association, expressed the change will help not only those who remain in the industry, but those who want out of it.
"I’m ecstatic that Minister Shea and DFO have approved our proposal for change in our lobster industry. These changes will allow our aging fishermen the opportunity to retire with fair compensation for their fleets and will help those fishing enterprises that remain to become more viable by being able to fish more traps. This self-rationalization plan within the fishery comes at no cost to the government or the taxpayer," pointed out the official.
However, in Glace Bay harbour, this purchasing system, which has been allowed for the last couple of years, has not been widely applauded.
Herb Nash, chair of the Glace Bay Harbour Authority, stated: "I'm not against it - if you're allowed to stack that's good. I think it would be a lot better if you had to buy a licence out of a harbour you're fishing in because then you're getting rid of half a licence every time someone does that.”
"If you're buying a licence somewhere else and bringing it to a harbour, then you're adding more traps and more pressure to the lobster fishing in that area,” Nash highlighted as it was reported by The Chronicle Herald.
Anyway, fishermen here have welcomed the CAD 4 million (USD 3.72 million) announced for infrastructure.
Shea announced funding for basin dredging in New Waterford harbour, creation of a dredge disposal site in Glace Bay, completion of a new breakwater wharf at Port Morien and completion of a new breakwater wharf at Cheticamp.
Minister Shea said she expects more recommendations from industry to be approved in the coming months.

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