Shellfish association wants clarifiction on multi-species leases

Group appears at standing committee in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 5, 2016

Charlottetown harbour closed to shellfishing

©Guardian file photo by Brian McInnis

The P.E.I. Shellfish Association is still looking for clarification on the issue of multi-species leases and to press its point, it appeared at the standing committee on agriculture and fisheries Friday in Charlottetown.

Brenda Campbell, president of the association, expressed frustration that she still doesn't have the information she needs to inform members when their annual general meeting takes place later this month.

The association and its member remains opposed to lifting a moratorium on the issuance of multi-species leases.

They're opposed to leaseholders being granted DFO permits to set spat collectors on public grounds for use on their leases.

"Do mussels and oysters cohabit together? I can't find one study that tells me that,'' Campbell told the media following the presentation. "This is an avenue for mussels and oysters on the same lease, but if you have an oyster lease you can't start growing mussels. What's good for one should be good for all.''

The lease management board informed the association by letter that a recommendation on the issue would be going to DFO for a decision and that the decision would be coming down Feb. 17.

"We have not heard anything. Our last information is that the recommendation was going forward with amendments.''

The association has been told that will happen March 30, but that is two weeks after their meeting.

"For membership coming to the meeting wanting an update it would be helpful if there was some information I could pass on.''

Campbell believes there are two options on the table, leave the moratorium in place or issue a multi-species licence in a limited area as a pilot project.

FACT BOX

1 - Many Island shellfish harvesters are second, third and in some cases, fourth-generation harvesters

2 - All of the quahogs and soft shell clams for export are harvested from the wild shellfishery in P.E.I.

3 - Wild public fishermen in general fish 20-24 weeks per year. Most have more than one shellfish licence, often fishing in both the spring and fall

4 - There are an estimated 1,275 wild public oyster licences in P.E.I.

5 - In 2015, there were 600 to 700 full-time oyster, clam, quahog fishermen; 200 part-time quahog harvesters; and 200 soft shell clam/bar clam fishermen

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart