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Lobster fishing vessels at Cap-aux-Meules Wharf Lobster fishing vessels
at Cap-aux-Meules wharf

DFO  J.C. Richard

Over the last few years, the global economic and financial crisis has contributed to the collapse of lobster prices. In response to this situation, in June 2009 Minister Gail Shea announced that a $65-million investment would be made to help the industry as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

Of this amount, $50 million has been earmarked for the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures (ALSM) program. The purpose of this program is to develop and implement long-term solutions to consolidate the lobster fishing industry in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.  

A simple process has been put into place to gain access to this program’s funding. The first step calls for lobster fishers active within a given Lobster Fishing Area to submit a sustainability plan describing the conservation measures that will be implemented by all the lobster fishers active in that area. These measures must seek to:

  1. Improve the prospects for biological productivity;
  2. Improve the reliability of information provided by harvesters; and
  3. Reduce the impact on ecosystems.

An external review committee will study the proposals and, depending on the results obtained, projects may receive funding to cover from 20 to 50 percent of the required budget.

The second step involves submitting applications for funding for projects geared towards achieving the plan’s objectives. Harvesters’ organizations must develop and submit proposals that fall into the following categories: 

  • Stewardship and conservation;
  • Restructuring and rationalization of the harvesting sector; or
  • Harvester organization governance.

The external committee will study the projects and make a recommendation to Fisheries and Oceans Canada regarding which projects to fund.  Requests will be assessed in accordance with the organization’s ability to implement the project, the proposal’s measureable impact and the organization’s financing structure. Together with their applications for funding, organizations must include their financing package and confirmation of their partners’ financial contribution. Projects approved under the ALSM program must be completed by March 31, 2014.

The deadline for submitting sustainability plans and applications for funding is September 30, 2010.

Restructuring of Canada’s Atlantic Lobster Industry
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – National Web site

Cédric Arseneau
Fisheries and Aquaculture Management