Minister Shea announces $14m to Atlantic lobster harvesting groups

30 Mar 2011

Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, has announced government support of $14 million to seven lobster harvesting groups in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick as part of Canada’s Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures program.

To date and including this funding, over $20m has been issued to lobster harvesting groups through the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures.

“A strong lobster fishery is of utmost importance to Atlantic Canadians,” said Minister Shea. “In implementing sustainability projects in their Lobster Fishing Areas, these harvesting groups have taken an important step forward for conservation and the improved economic viability of Canada’s lobster fishery over the long term. Our government is proud to support them in their efforts.”

Minister Shea also announced that the minimum lobster carapace size will be raised to 71mm for all Lobster Fishing Areas in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence for the 2011 season, with a further increase to 72mm in 2013. Increasing the minimum size for lobsters allowed to be legally caught leads to better conservation outcomes and a more sustainable fishery in the long term. The government’s Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures program, with its focus on improving sustainability, has been an important factor in achieving this conservation success.

The Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures program covers all Lobster Fishing Areas on Canada’s east coast. Securing funding through the program is a two-stage process. A sustainability plan that applies to an entire Lobster Fishing Area must first be developed by the responsible fishing organisations for approval by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Successful plans are then subject to review by the External Applications Review Board.

Once a sustainability plan has been approved, commercial lobster harvesting groups in the Lobster Fishing Area may then submit project proposals to DFO to receive a portion of the funds required to implement their plan. The projects must fall within one of three categories: conservation and stewardship; restructuring and rationalisation of the harvesting sector; and harvester organisation governance.

The final call for proposals for this five-year program will be on 30 September 2011. Up to $50 million is being invested by the government in the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures program until it is scheduled to end on 31 March 31 2014.

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