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From the wheelhouse
spells the future of the lobster fishery on the Gaspé Peninsula
Vincent Malouin


With many members of the Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG) participating, the lobster harvesters of the Gaspé Peninsula held their fourth workshop last January 12 and 13 in Chandler.

These daylong workshops offered participants a forum where they could discuss their points of view regarding the industry sustainability plan, the foundation for much of their work for the next five years. It is important to point out that the desire to see the lobster fishery develop in a harmonious and sustainable manner is central to everyone’s efforts.

For about a dozen years, lobster harvesters and Fisheries and Oceans Canada management in Gaspé have joined forces to move forward in implementing the recommendations made in the reports published in 1995 and 2007 by the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council (FRCC), the goal being to achieve the essential objective of ensuring that the lobster fishery continues to be a sustainable and stable fishery for the lobster harvester over the long term. The objective of reducing the fishing effort by 30 percent—an ambitious target—has nearly been reached and the resource is showing signs of stability in several sub-areas.

New conservation measures will begin in 2012 when the use of a model trap will be implemented and a uniform minimum catch size of 83 mm will be introduced for the entire sector. Other initiatives being studied are projects dealing with certification, traceability, the implementation of electronic logbooks and commercial fishing for tourism purposes.

Nevertheless, the working conditions of lobster harvesters are still precarious in terms of viability and the 2011 workshop served, notably, to build stronger ties yet between them and the Department.

In its development approach, RPPSG is working to carry out a project to support natural recruitment by seeding lobster. For now, this project is still at the research and development stage, but the scientific presentations made during the workshop augur well in terms of results.

Bringing together a group of some sixty participants, including harvesters, producers, First Nations’ members, marketing specialists, scientists and managers, and mobilizing them all around a single vision—the conservation of a species—with the ultimate goal of coming to an agreement on the development of a specific fishery was a challenge for the Gaspe–Lower St. Lawrence Area

The lobster fishery continues to be the main coastal fishery in the sector and more than ever we need to work together to deal with market issues and climate change while remaining vigilant in terms of conservation.  

Vincent Malouin, Director
Gaspe–Lower St. Lawrence Area
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