NEWS

N.B., P.E.I. lobster fishermen dispute trap limit

01/07/2012 01:15 EST | Updated 03/08/2012 05:12 EST

Lobster fishermen in P.E.I. and New Brunswick are disputing the number of traps set on each line.

There are about 140 lobster fishermen from eastern New Brunswick who set traps in Lobster Fishing Area 25 in the Northumberland Strait.

They sent a proposal to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans saying a rule requiring five traps per line would conserve stocks.

Currently, three traps are set per line. P.E.I. fishermen want to keep it that way.

The New Brunswick group argues a higher concentration of traps means fewer lobster would be caught and less fuel would be used catching them.

But some lobster fishermen in P.E.I. argue against the proposal, saying it would create a system where there are too many different rules within one area.

Mike McGeoghegan, the president of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, said that would cause confusion and division.

"Once you get into these sub zones — and that's what this will be — you've got a group of fishermen creating their own empire with their own little set of rules. That's no good," he said.

Ron MacKinley, P.E.I.'s fisheries minister, said he stands firmly behind province's fishermen and their case for the status quo.

"If that ever came in, their catches would be down for the simple reason there would be two or three traps that would be fishing where there is a good possibility there would be no lobsters go into them," he said.

MacKinley and McGeoghegan are writing a letter to DFO to outline their concerns.

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