No changes coming to fleet separation policy, Ashfield confirms

Teresa Wright
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Nick Dougan, left, and Robbie Moore haul lobster from the Half Snapped out of Covehead Harbour after a morning of pulling traps.

Atlantic Canada’s fleet separation policies will remain intact, Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield confirmed today.

For months, fears about potential changes to fleet separation and owner-operator regulations for the Atlantic Canadian fishery have been front of mind for those in the industry. 

Today Ashfield released a statement aimed at putting these fears to rest.

In the statement, Ashfield said the concerns that have been raised by fishing groups and Opposition critics have been unfounded.

“That is why I have been displeased - and quite frankly angered - by some of the inaccuracies that have surfaced over the past several months suggesting that the owner-operator and fleet separation policies would be eliminated," Ashfield said.

"Let me be absolutely clear: the fleet separation and owner operator policies in Atlantic Canada will remain intact.”

P.E.I.’s Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley said this is good news for fisherman on P.E.I.

“I am very pleased that Minister Keith Ashfield has taken these changes off the table,” MacKinley stated in a news release issued this afternoon.  

“Many efforts were made by the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association and by our government to keep these policies in place and it’s good for the fishery that there will be no change.”

The issue stems from a review paper released by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans earlier this year on modernizing the fishing industry, which led to concerns about potential changes to fleet separation and owner-operator regulations.

Fleet separation keeps processors from holding fishing licences and owner-operator regulations mean whoever holds the licence has to catch the fish.

A unanimous resolution was passed in the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly last spring calling on the federal government to keep the policies in place to support the inshore fishery.


For more reaction on this story, be sure to pick up a print edition of Saturday's Guardian.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island Fishermen

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Recent comments

  • Roland Edwards
    September 28, 2012 - 16:54

    I have been fishing for 20 yrs. I wish we had owner operator on the west coast of Canada. Going fishing for 20% of the landed value of the fish is wrong. The greed of the quota owners knows no bounds. We are always working the margins. I'm not very proud to be a Canadian.

  • jim in rollo bay
    September 22, 2012 - 14:36

    would like to remind pogyman , the editor of this paper and a host of others that spreading mistrust slander and illwill toward an identifiable group of people is against the constitution of Canada... that piece of text at the bottom of the comment section is there for a legal reason ...anybody can have an opinion by the editor should be screening unaccepable posts..or wait ...maybe he likes those posts thats why every time there is a fishing story good or bad he continues to allow theses posters to foster hatred against fisherpeople

  • Ed Gallant
    September 22, 2012 - 10:37

    “That is why I have been displeased - and quite frankly angered - by some of the inaccuracies that have surfaced over the past several months suggesting that the owner-operator and fleet separation policies would be eliminated," Ashfield said. "Let me be absolutely clear: the fleet separation and owner operator policies in Atlantic Canada will remain intact.”.... If he was so sure, why didn't he clarify this several months ago, instead of keeping fisherman guessing. Any time I hear a politician say,"Let me be absolutely clear", he is anything but clear.

    • right on
      September 22, 2012 - 17:35

      Right on Ed!

  • Chucker
    September 22, 2012 - 07:47

    Unless they slip into the next omnibus budget bill..... then there will be fleet separation. I am so soo soooooo sorry for my Conservative vote last time. NDP next time. For sure.

  • Steve
    September 22, 2012 - 00:17

    Jealousy breeds ignorance as is evident by some ignorant comments on here!

  • Hmmmmm?
    September 21, 2012 - 20:06

    That is great news for rural Atlantic Canada. Now lets see if the feds will enforce it in places like SW Nova where there are licenses that have a designated operator status that goes completely against the owner/operator policy.

  • pogeyman
    September 21, 2012 - 18:46

    Harper the pogey man will make you fisherman work now, no more golfing and camping for the summer months, you will now have to work like the rest of canada no more free rides, The loop holes are pulling tight for the poor fisherman on ei

  • Now
    September 21, 2012 - 17:23

    Now will they change the EI rules to match the fact that fleet owners are self employed business people that don't meet the (original & intended) rules to collect EI . There isn't any other business owner self employed people that hires others & gives stamps that are entilited to draw themselves , so why these fishers ???????????????????????

  • Garth Staples
    September 21, 2012 - 17:00

    Fishers and McKinley have been 'fishmongering' too often. The Harper Govt comes through again. Thanks Gail Shea.

    • amazed
      September 21, 2012 - 22:13

      Once again your comments make no sense ,or nonsense.Let me know when your book comes out so I order it from the public library, even if I do dare to try to read it I wouldn't pay a cancelled penny for it.

  • Bill Kays
    September 21, 2012 - 16:25

    He's displeased and angry!!! WOW. He is definitely an idiot, that much is for sure. Why would anyone believe this or any other statement put out by this federal gang of liars. There is nothing good coming from the feds regarding fishing or farming. They are cutting out the small farmer and the small fisherman. They are putting unreasonable stresses on the industries from the small independent farmer or fisher. All of these austerity measures are designed to push us over the edge. They want to force whatever labor force is left in this country to move out west or to larger cities etc. Instead of assaulting our farmers and fishers the federal government should protect us, not destroy us by design. Again, do these governments have no shame? How can they look voters in the eye? They can't continue to do what they are doing without a backlash from our citizens. And the backlash is coming, soon. Look at the protests against this government. Why does our media refuse to report the real news? This country is becoming more and more like Germany back in the 1920's, 1930's, and we all know what that resulted in. Everyone should tell Harper exactly where to go and how fast to get there.

  • HMR
    September 21, 2012 - 15:54

    Great news for all maritime fishermen! I wonder what Lawrence MacAulay, one of the three liberal stooges elected in the last election will chirp about in the future!!!!!