COVID-19 concerns delay southern N.B. lobster season 1 month
Other fisheries scheduled to start on set dates
With the lobster fishery delayed for one month in fishing areas 36 and 37 in southern New Brunswick, others with fisheries set to open in mid-April and early May are waiting to see what will happen to their seasons because of COVID-19.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans accepted a request from the Fundy North Fishermen's Association to delay the the start of the lobster fishery in the two zones from March 31 to April 30.
The association represents fishermen from St. Martins to St. Stephen including the communities of Deer Island and Campobello Island.
"In light of the current circumstances, and with input and support from groups involved, DFO has accepted this request and will be delaying the start of the fishing season by 30 days," wrote Jane Deeks, press secretary to the Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan in an email.
Deeks said consultations are with harvesters, processors, and industry partners to assess individual situations on an ongoing basis.
"COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving challenge," Deeks said.
In an email, Annie Chiasson, the assistant director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union said they have "been following the evolution of COVID-19 and its impact on the market for several weeks."
She continued, saying "for all of the fishermen and coastal communities concerned, the MFU must consider all the options related to fishing in Nova Scotia and the spring fishery."
Chiasson confirmed the MFU was collaborating with all DFO and others to develop mitigation plans 'that consider the possibility of a limited, postponed or cancelled season.'
Deeks said the DFO is ensuring any decisions that are being made will not only support the industry in the short-term, but will allow for a strong recovery in the future.
Meanwhile the crab season and lobster seasons in northeastern N.B. haven't been cancelled. In a release Tuesday, Acadie-Bathurst MP Serge Cormier said there were no changes to the opening or closing dates of the seasons.
But fishermen and workers at seafood processing plants are getting worried. Doreen Bezeau told Radio Canada she doubts that it's possible to work in a processing plant with the COVID-19 virus still spreading.
"If it's not resolved, and it's dangerous, they have to send us home," Bezeau said in French.