PEI

Lennox Island chief rejects PEIFA's calls for July lobster fishery ban

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association is supporting the idea of a ban on all lobster fishing in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence during midsummer, mainly July.

'They need to come to the table,' says Darlene Bernard

Officials with the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association say changing climate conditions have resulted in warmer water in midsummer, increasing stress on lobster stock. (Brian McInnis)

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association is requesting a ban be implemented by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on lobster fishing for part of the summer.

The association is supporting the idea of a ban on all lobster fishing in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence during midsummer, mainly July.

Officials with the association say changing climate conditions have resulted in warmer water in midsummer, increasing stress on the stock and a midsummer ban is needed to ensure protection during the critical moulting and spawning period. 

"Although there is no scheduled fisheries, there are some of the food and ceremonial fishery that does take place in certain areas," said Ian MacPherson, executive director of the association.

"We just feel that as a collective group, that it would be good for no one to fish during that period just so the stock isn't impacted."

MacPherson said the focus is on keeping the lobster fishery healthy.

'They need to come to the table'

Chief Darlene Bernard of the Lennox Island First Nation said they have a ceremonial fishery in the month of July for the annual St. Anne's Sunday celebration and she has no plans to stop it.

"If the PEIFA have issues with conservation within that month then they need to come to the table and show us a plan on how they're going to limit the commercial fisheries," she said.

There is also a food fishery, and a ban in July would also impact it. The food fishery is a non-commercial fishery for the community's own consumption.

'As far as I'm concerned the food, social and ceremonial fishery is a priority rights-based fishery and I will protect that,' says Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Bernard said she had no plans to put a stop to the ceremonial fishing.

"As far as I'm concerned the food, social and ceremonial fishery is a priority rights-based fishery and I will protect that," she said.

MacPherson said he hasn't spoken to any member of the Lennox Island First Nation.

"I think it would be good to have some dialogue around that and some information sharing. You know, at the end of the day ... as a collective group of fishers we want the resource to be healthy and sustainable," MacPherson said.

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With files from Angela Walker