P.E.I. fishermen hopeful of smooth federal minister transition
New Brunswick MP taking over as fisheries minister
P.E.I. fishermen are wishing Hunter Tootoo the best, following the news he has resigned as federal fisheries minister to seek addiction treatment.
Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc of New Brunswick is taking over Tootoo's cabinet post for now.
P.E.I. Fishermen's Association executive director Ian MacPherson was surprised when he heard the news.
MacPherson isn't overly concerned about the transition to a new minister.
"Obviously there is a lot of support staff in the minister's office and I assume that a lot of those people will remain the same," he said.
"Dominic LeBlanc comes from a fishing area so I think he's very well versed on some of the issues facing the fishery right now. So you know these are always unplanned situations but I think everyone digs in and tries to make the best of it."
A dispute over lobster
Island fishermen have been upset about a recent DFO decision to increase the lobster carapace size in the western end of the Northumberland Strait.
New Brunswick fishermen had lobbied for the change. P.E.I. has asked DFO to reconsider its decision.
MacPherson believes the new minister will be fair and impartial. He says the association hopes to meet with LeBlanc as soon as possible on several issues affecting the industry.
P.E.I. Opposition MLA Colin LaVie has already called upon the newly-minted federal fisheries minister to explain the recent decision forcing a lobster carapace size increase for all fishermen in Lobster Fishing Area 25.
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With files from Angela Walker