07/08/2013 06:13 EDT | Updated 09/07/2013 05:12 EDT

P.E.I. minister applauds Ottawa for maintaining minimum size for lobster catches

CHARLOTTETOWN - Prince Edward Island's fisheries minister is applauding the federal government for rejecting a bid to increase the minimum size of lobsters that can be caught in Lobster Fishing Area 25.

Ron McKinley issued a statement Monday saying Ottawa's decision not to increase lobster carapace size beyond 72 millimetres is good news because it will protect the Island's lobster canning industry, which relies on a steady supply of smaller lobsters.

McKinley says canner lobsters are the backbone of the province's lobster fishery.

He says more than 80 per cent of canner lobsters caught in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are landed on Prince Edward Island and the majority of the catch is processed in the province.

The Maritime Fishermen's Union, which represents 1,300 fishermen in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, wanted the minimum carapace size to 77 millimetres.

The fall fishery in the fishing area is scheduled to open Aug. 9.