Minister Shea announces $14 Million to Atlantic Lobster Harvesting Groups to Implement Sustainability Measures
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today 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, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
"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 71 millimetres for all Lobster Fishing Areas in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence for the 2011 season, with a further increase to 72 millimetres 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, announced by Minister Shea June 10, 2009, 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 organizations 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 rationalization of the harvesting sector; and harvester organization governance.
The final call for proposals for this five-year program will be on September 30, 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 March 31, 2014.
The program is a key part of the Government of Canada's recent support of fish harvesters in the Atlantic lobster industry in helping them create a sustainable and strong lobster fishery for generations to come.