P.E.I.'s fishermen adjust to newly imposed gear markings
'There's always a little bit confusion when a new management measure comes in'
The P.E.I. Fisherman's Association said it's receiving calls from local fishermen asking for clarification over the new gear markings imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Melanie Griffin, a marine biologist with the fishermen's association, said the idea is that should an animal become entangled in gear, the twine would enable authorities to identify where the animal became entangled.
Like any new management measure, Griffin said, it will take time to get used to.
"Prior to this there were no gear markings," she said. "It's a brand new ... management measure in place, so there's always a little bit confusion when a new management measure comes in," Griffin said.
To reflect the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act, fixed gear fishermen on P.E.I. will now be required to have specially-coloured fishing gear rope. One piece to represent the Gulf region, one to represent the species they are fishing and one to represent the location of their trap.
So far, Griffin said a lot of the questions have dealt with the measurements of the twine that is meant to be used.
Fishermen are required to buy the gear themselves and implement it.
Protecting right whales
P.E.I.'s fishermen are among hundreds in Atlantic Canada who are being drawn into the effort to protect endangered right whales this year.
The act requires seafood imports to be caught under fishing rules equivalent to whale protection measures in place in the United States. Gear marking is mandatory in U.S. trap fisheries.
Almost two dozen right whales have died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence over the past three years, and some American politicians, fishermen and environmentalists have said Canadian fishing regulations are too lax.
Without further protections, some U.S. environmental groups are calling for a ban on some Canadian seafood.
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With files from Paul Withers and Jessica Doria-Brown