July 4, 2020
Report on a sustainability framework for atlantic lobster
Moncton N.B., - The Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC) announces today the release of its report - Sustainability Framework for Atlantic Lobster, 2007 to the public and to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The report proposes directions and options to minimize risk and to enhance the sustainability of the fishery.
“The core message is that there are high risks associated with the current fisheries strategy in many areas on the east coast of Canada ”, noted Mr. Jean Guy d’Entremont, Chairman of the FRCC.
The FRCC believes that it is very important for the industry to adjust and control fishing effort to maintain balance with the available resource. Many factors – higher fishing costs, larger vessels, etc. - have exacerbated the pressure for additional landings and are becoming threats to sustainability of the lobster fishery.
The lobster fishery is the most valuable fishery on Canada ’s east coast with a landed value exceeding $600 million. Close to 10,000 lobster enterprises, in hundreds of communities throughout the Atlantic region and Québec, depend on the fishery for economic prosperity.
The fishery has been managed with minimal information rather than comprehensive knowledge. The FRCC is avoiding setting an alarmist tone to the report but has emphasized throughout the resource analysis, the need to minimize risk by reducing exploitation rates and establishing better controls on fishing effort. The Council concludes that better information through additional monitoring on-shore would benefit industry, management and science.
DFO also needs to change its approach: “The Department should allow harvesters to play a more active role in the future of the fisheries. DFO’s reluctance to implement change has been a source of frustration raised during consultations”, said Mr. d’Entremont.
For the most part, the Council concludes that the 1995 Lobster Conservation Framework provided a solid plan to enhance the conservation of the resource. The Council has observed that recommendations of the 1995 report were implemented successfully by some harvesters, with tangible impacts on sustainability, while many others have opted for minimal change. The 2007 report encourages participants to continue on the path outlined in the 1995 report and provides additional recommendations in a number of new areas.
To prepare the report, the Council held a series of 18 consultations with harvesters and processors from the lobster fishery as well as the general public throughout Atlantic and Québec communities. In addition, the FRCC received over 80 written briefs from various organizations and individuals. The information collected provided the Council with a good overview of what had been done over the past decade as well as suggestions for future actions. Following the formal consultation process the Council held a workshop involving over 65 participants from all sectors of industry, science and management. Workshop participants studied some of the issues raised during the consultation process and provided further views and comments.
The FRCC will arrange for meetings with interested harvesters in the fall to provide an opportunity to discuss the report. Dates and locations of these meetings will be announced at a later time.
The full text of the report is available on the FRCC’s website at www.frcc-ccrh.ca