The east coast lobster wars

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Most of us would be hard-pressed to notice a four-millimetre difference in the length of a lobster shell. To put that in perspective, four millimetres is the height of four dimes stacked on top of each other. But lobster fishers in PEI and New Brunswick are about to go to war with each other over a bid to increase the minimum catch size by exactly that amount.

Here is the link to CBC TV's Land and Sea feature on the future of the lobster industry in Canada.



Panel: Gilles Thériault / Ian MacPherson

Norman Peters has been catching lobster off the coast of Prince Edward Island for 50 years. And he's worried about where the industry is going. These days, Norman Peters is gearing up for a fight ... one that's playing out in the shared coastal waters of New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia ... a patch of water known in the Northumberland Strait as Lobster Fishing Area 25, where about 600 fishermen ply their trade.

The Carapace is the shell that covers the lobster's head and abdomen. Right now, federal regulations say lobsters must have a carapace that measures a minimum of 72 millimetres, a restriction put on this year. Lobster fishermen in New Brunswick want that minimum increased to 76 and 77 millimetres. Lobster fishermen in PEI want it to stay where it is. The difference would be imperceptible to an untrained eye. But for the people who make their living here, it means war.

Gilles Thériault is president of GTA Fisheries Consultants. He was hired by New Brunswick's lobster industry to promote a new minimum catch size. Gilles Thériault joined us from Moncton, New Brunswick.

And Ian MacPherson is the Executive Director of the PEI Fishermen's Association. He was in Charlottetown.

Lobster Council of Canada, Geoff Irvine

One of the ironies of the situation is that it's being driven at least in part by a problem other fisheries would love to have -- there are simply too many lobsters. It's unlikely that glut of supply is going away any time soon.

So for a broader perspective on the state of the lobster fishery, we were joined by Geoff Irvine. He's the Executive Director of the Lobster Council of Canada and he was in Halifax.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch and Naheed Mustafa.

Last Word - Land and Sea Lobster Collapse

We ended the program today with some thoughts on the future of the lobster industry in Canada. Our colleagues at CBC Television's Land and Sea dedicated a full episode to the subject earlier this month. Today's last word goes to a few of the voices from it, of people tied to the industry and worried for its future.


Other segments from today's show:

Cleaning up the payday loan industry

The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI

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