Fishermen consider relaxing rules on entry policy
New policy could allow less experienced fishermen to fish sooner
The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association says its members are considering relaxing the rules to make it easier for less experienced fishermen to get out on the water.
Currently, the Island’s entry policy requires fishermen to have two consecutive years of fishing experience within the last 10 years.
Mike McGeoghegan, PEIFA’s president, said that rule prevents fishermen returning from work in western Canada from getting into the fishing business.
"It's frustrating for these guys that come home and find out they can't buy their father's fleet, or their grandfather's fleet, or the guy’s next door, or your uncle’s. I mean you're a fisherman," he said.
The new entry policy being considered would allow fishermen who work just one season out of the last 10 years to get a licence.
McGeoghegan said that would make it easier to replace the 75 or so fishermen who leave the industry every year.
Ron MacKinley is P.E.I.'s fisheries minister.
"If we didn't have any fishers coming on, this would be a sad province to be in. Especially in our rural communities. It's not only the lobster industry that are catching them, but it's also all the workers, and the spinoff," he said.
As for concerns over the safety of less experienced fishermen, all licence holders must pass safety guidelines that have been put in place by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
There isn't full agreement on the issue. There are three licensed fishing areas around the Island. All three are discussing the change.
The issue will go the the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association board for a final vote. The matter would then go to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
- A previous version of this story said the rule had already been changed. In fact, the issue is still under consideration.Apr 09, 2013 3:06 PM AT