A meeting with federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield went well, but didn’t resolve concerns about potential changes to lobster carapace sizes that can be legally landed, says Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie.
In an interview with The Guardian, LaVie said he felt good about the meeting and Ashfield understood that the changes would be devastating to the industry in P.E.I.
“The minister heard us loud and clear with the issues we were talking about with the carapace sizes,” he said.
LaVie joined Opposition Leader Steven Myers and Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry in Halifax Friday morning for the meeting to discuss concerns about proposed changes to the minimum carapace size.
Ashfield is facing pressure from the Maritime Fishermen’s Union in New Brunswick, processors in that province and the New Brunswick government who want the minimum allowed for catches increased from 72 mm to 77 mm by 2015 in the Northumberland Strait.
Island processors and fishermen don’t want a size increase because smaller lobsters, known as canners, are a big part of the province’s market.
LaVie said Ashfield didn’t make any commitments about the proposed changes.
“We didn’t resolve if it was going to be a yes or a no,” LaVie said.
A statement from Ashfield’s office said the Minister welcomes ideas and initiatives from the fishing industry which will improve the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the fishery.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) continues to work with all harvesting groups and partners to find solutions to challenges facing the industry, the statement said.