Nfld. & Labrador

Ottawa seems to be open to extending food fishery, advocate says

A man who's been lobbying the federal government to extend the recreational food fishery is hopeful change is coming.

Rick Bouzan would like to see a three month long food fishery

Past Wildlife Federation President Rick Bouzan says that he would like to see the food fishery extended in time for the upcoming season. (CBC)

A man who's been lobbying the federal government to extend the recreational food fishery is hopeful change is coming.

Former Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation president Rick Bouzan said on Tuesday that for the first time in 20 years, Ottawa is open to extending it.

His comments come in the wake of Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote's statements on Friday that she has raised the issue of extending the food fishery with new federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo.

Bouzan said members of the Wildlife Federation also met with Tootoo when he was in town earlier in January and were satisfied with the meeting. 

"It's very pleasing to our membership with all the hard work that we've done to finally see some ministers and government recognize the need for an extension in this food fishery," he said.

Pushing for three month food fishery

The 2015 edition of the recreational food fishery ran for a summer season from July 18 to Aug. 9, and a fall season from Sept. 9 to Sept. 27.

​"We've asked the minister to give us a three-month period," said Bouzan.

"There'll be no more fish taken during that three-month period. People will simply choose to come home and take the holidays earlier or later on," he said. 

He said a longer fishery would help ensure that recreational fisherman don't feel pressured to head out on days with poor weather conditions.

"People have died in this food fishery, in particular rushing out the last day in unfit weather, simply because it's the last day to get a few fish before they go."

Bouzan said that although he has dealt with many ministers over the past 20 years, he's optimistic that Foote and members of the current federal government are listening.

He'd like to see the change made in time for an extended fishery this summer.

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