Lobster size change “no news”

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Local fishermen prefer bigger jump

WALLACE – A lobster announcement from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has been greeted by disappointment from a local fisherman

Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield said in a press release Monday that the carapace size for lobster caught in Lobster Fishing Area 25 would increase from 71 mm (minimum) to 72 mm.

“That’s really no news,” said Northumberland Strait-based Eben Elliott.

He said the increase to 72 mm was agreed upon two years ago. What he wanted to see was acceptance of a proposal from New Brunswick fisherman to increase the carapace to 77 mm – a proposal that met with resistance from P.E.I. fishermen.

Elliott said he thought the government might push ahead with the larger minimum. He said the fishery has faced problems marketing and processing their product, and he expects more of the same this year.

The minister said he has heard and received many comments and suggestions from licence holders, processors, provincial government representatives and others involved in the lobster industry.

He said he asked fishermen in the area to come to a consensus, but a lack of agreement has forced him to make a decision for the season to open as planned.

He said the federal department will review the findings of an independent lobster panel set up by the three Maritime governments before making any future changes on carapace size.

He is urging all parties to focus on finding options to improve the long-term viability, sustainability and markets for Atlantic lobster.

Geographic location: Lobster Fishing Area, New Brunswick, P.E.I.

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