PEI

P.E.I. Opposition seeing red over lobster carapace decision

The PC Opposition on P.E.I. is accusing the MacLauchlan government and the Island's four Liberal MPs of not doing enough to fight Ottawa's decision to increase the lobster carapace size for Lobster Fishing Area 25.

'They never went to bat for the Island fishermen'

the P.E.I. Opposition is worried about the impact of the lobster carapace size change announced by Ottawa.

The PC Opposition on P.E.I. is accusing the MacLauchlan government and the Island's four Liberal MPs of not doing enough to fight Ottawa's decision to increase the lobster carapace size for Lobster Fishing Area 25.

Opposition fisheries critic Colin LaVie told CBC News the change in the carapace size will have a direct impact on Island fishermen who supply smaller-sized lobsters, known as canners.

He noted P.E.I. processing plants have invested money to develop and service the canner market.

LaVie doesn't think enough is being done by Liberal politicians to fight the decision, which comes into effect for the fall fishery.

Former Tory MP fought for fishermen, says LaVie

Colin LaVie accuses the provincial Liberal government of not doing enough to fight the carapace decision. (CBC)

"They never went to bat for the Island fishermen," said LaVie.

"When Gail Shea was a member we made sure we had canner lobsters, and that is where we are putting most of our levy money, into the canner lobster."

LaVie said the four Liberal MPs on the Island, now in government, are not fighting for the Island fishermen, and he said the same about the provincial government.

"The MacLauchlan government just folded like a chair," he said.

P.E.I. Fisheries Minister Alan McIsaac has said the provincial government lobbied against the change and he has also expressed concern about the decision.

Egmont Liberal MP Robert Morrissey defended the carapace decision, saying conservation measures and proper management are needed. (CBC)
Egmont MP Robert Morrissey said he wasn't surprised about the criticism from the Opposition.

"Unfortunately it's a typical position that comes from opposition parties who have nothing else to offer," he said.

Without proper management, the lobster fishery would not be as successful as it is, he added.

"Over the years carapace size increases have led to increases in catches for fishermen, and in fact since 2005 to 2015, a 10 year period, the lobster catch in Atlantic Canada has almost doubled," said Morrissey.

"There are parts of the decision I'm not happy with but in my political career, I have always supported and defended conservation measures because I have seen this fishery at a time when it was barely a subsistence fishery and people were not making any money."

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association is organizing a meeting next week in O'Leary for the fishermen affected by the change.

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