PEI

Fishermen's association says it can't force members to wear personal flotation devices

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association says it won't mandate its members to wear personal flotation devices while on the water.

Vice-president says it is up to Transport Canada to make the regulations

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association says it is up to a fishing captain to decide on use of personal flotation devices while on the water.

The Prince Edward Island Fishermen's Association says it can't force its members to wear personal flotation devices while on the water.

Fishermen are required by Transport Canada to have a life-jacket or PFD on board for each person on a boat, but they are not required to wear them.

'Each captain's own discretion'

The Transportation Safety Board has recommended that requirements be put in place to change that. In a report from 2017, the TSB said there have been 99 fishing-related deaths since 2007. About 80 per cent of those deaths are from fishermen ending up in the water.

That's not our job to convince members to wear those. If it's a regulation, we by all means want them to be in compliance with those at all times- Mitch Jollimore, vice-president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association

P.E.I. fishermen Glen DesRoches and Moe Getson died last September after their boat capsized off the shores of North Cape. The TSB confirmed that neither man was wearing a life vest. 

"It's in each captain's own discretion to be as safe as they can," said Mitch Jollimore, vice-president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association. 

​"That's not our job to convince members to wear those," said Jollimore. "If it's a regulation, we by all means want them to be in compliance with those at all times."

Keeping members 'informed and educated'

The topic of PFDs wasn't on the agenda for the annual general meeting, but the association said it's been talking with members during smaller meetings over the last several months. 

Jollimore said the association has been spending the off-season looking at the rules to make sure that members "are as safe as they can be and are following the regulations."

"Our job is to make sure our members are informed and educated," he said.

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