Western work kills lobster licence hope
A Prince Edward Islander who works most of the year in Alberta has had his hopes of buying his own lobster licence in his home province dashed.
For the past five years, Aubrey Doucette has been working nine months of the year on drilling rigs in Alberta, and three months as a hired hand on lobster boats on P.E.I. His plan was to save enough money to buy his own boat and licence.
This year he had saved enough, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans rejected his application because he's considered an Alberta resident. To acquire a licence on P.E.I. you need to live on the Island at least six months of the year.
"I never ever in a million years would have thought it would come down to where I'm presently living," said Doucette.
"I am a Prince Edward Islander at heart, and I always will be. And that's part of the reason I left to go to Alberta, was to save the money to come back home and some day purchase my own."
Wayne Easter, MP for the central P.E.I. riding of Malpeque, has come out in support of Doucette.
"This is rather crazy. We would rather Prince Edward Islanders be able to stay on the Island and work, but this is an individual who dreamed of being a lobster fisherman, who made the decision to leave the Island to work but has come back every lobster season to fish and work at what is a dream, and this was to put the money in place," said Easter.
"He is a Canadian, he's got Island roots, he should be able to qualify."
Easter has asked Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield to tweak the rules to accommodate people in Doucette's situation.
Nobody from DFO could be reached for comment.