OTTAWA — Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced that the lobster conservation measures introduced in 1998-2001 will continue for the 2002 lobster fishing season. In the meantime, the department will continue to work with the industry to develop management plans for specific lobster fishing areas, as well as a new multi-year conservation strategy to begin in 2003.
“The lobster resource is very important to a number of communities on the East Coast and we need to continue with our efforts to protect it,” Mr. Dhaliwal said. “For the 2002 season, we will maintain the existing conservation measures outlined in the 4-year conservation strategy. In the meantime, we will consult with industry to see if measures need to be strengthened as we work towards a new long-term strategy.”
The Atlantic Canada Lobster Conservation Strategy of 1998-2001 was implemented in response to the 1995 Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) report entitled,“A Conservation Framework for Atlantic Lobster”. The report found that lobster exploitation rates were very high and that the fishery takes a high proportion of new recruits, leading to very low levels of egg production. The FRCC recommended that conservation measures were needed to increase the level of egg production per recruit. Current analysis continues to indicate that lobsters are heavily exploited and that although landings remain high in many areas they have started to decline from the peak level of over 48,000t in 1991 to the current levels of 40,000t Atlantic-wide.
Existing conservation measures are aimed at doubling egg production per recruit throughout Atlantic Canada and Quebec. DFO is committed to this target and is currently conducting an intensive review of the implementation and effects of the conservation strategy introduced in 1998. The results of this review may require some adjustments to conservation harvesting plans in specific lobster fishing areas. DFO will work the fishing industry to identify and implement any required changes.
Lobster is the single most valuable species fished on the East Coast, with the total landed value nearly doubling from $266 million in 1989 to $509 million in 2000.
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