PEI

Halibut fishery extended two weeks due to unfilled quota

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has granted an extension to the halibut fishing season for the first time.

This is the first time an extension has been granted

The halibut fishery has been extended for the first time by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has granted an extension to the halibut fishing season for the first time. 

The move was made to allow Island fisherman an opportunity to fill their quota for the year.

As of the end of last week, the 330 registered fishermen on P.E.I. had only caught half of the allowed number. 

Bobby Jenkins, president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, said catches haven't been what they were.

It could be a combination of different things, water temperature, or the halibut could just be moved off to deeper water.— Bobby Jenkins

"I've talked to fishers that have made five trips and have only landed a 100 pounds of halibut so far," he said.

"And this time last year some of those same guys had all their halibut caught the first trip."

'Combination of different things'

Fisheries and Oceans is allowing fishermen two more days next week and another two the following week, and then the P.E.I.F.A. will reassess. 

Jenkins doesn't know what might be causing the problem for fishermen, but said yesterday's catch was better and that the water cooling off may be helping.

"It could be a combination of different things, water temperature, or the halibut could just be moved off to deeper water," he said.

"Bait could be playing a factor in it. Bigger halibut, you know, they require quite a bit of bait. If the bait is in the deeper water that means that they're out there and maybe they just haven't moved in yet."

With files from Laura Chapin

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