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Commercial fishing for tourism purposes
An innovative approach
lobster fishery

MPO  D. Raby

Beginning in the 2011 fishing season, the Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be innovating by setting up a pilot project involving commercial fishing for tourism purposes. This project will allow fisher/interpreters to reach a clientele that wishes to learn more about the wealth of the sea.

This mobilizing project connects two industries: the fishery and tourism. The main objectives of this partnership are to diversify fishing activities and to improve the economic viability of this industry. Another aim of this union is to promote the culture and heritage associated with inshore fishing on the Gaspé Peninsula.

A new concept?

Perhaps not, but it is certainly a new approach. An outing on the water will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy a tourism experience with accredited lobster harvesters willing to share their knowledge and passion for the sea, and to show visitors what their daily lives are like.

Every country has its own rules for managing commercial or recreational fisheries. An examination of the practices that exist in different areas of the world has shown that commercial fishing combined with a tourism component is a niche with excellent prospects for development on the Gaspé Peninsula..

New rules

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Gaspe–Lower St. Lawrence Area has established a regulatory framework to support this new activity. The goal is to make sure that any measures taken comply with established policies and environmental rules to avoid putting pressure on the resource.

The marine resources harvested as part of this pilot project will have to be included in the participating harvesters’ quotas. The harvesters will also have to abide by rules governing permitted species, fishing areas, bag limits, opening dates, gear and other management measures.  

The harvesters who will participate in this pilot project will have to upgrade their skills as interpreters and make sure their boats comply with Transport Canada regulations for tourist passengers. RPPSG will also have to work jointly with other fleets to negotiate a small share of their quotas.

The pilot project will be funded until 2012 by various federal and provincial economic development organisations.

That trip around the Gaspe will be all the more interesting thanks to this new original way of enjoying the sea.

Danielle Laurin

Gaspe–Lower St. Lawrence Area

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