© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Nick Dougan, left, and Robbie Moore haul lobster from the Half Snapped out of Covehead Harbour Wednesday 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.