Monday, May 11, 2009

Industry in Distress

The lobster industry’s fishermen for the Maritime Provinces, have called for an emergency meeting with the Federal and Provincial governments. Representatives of the lobster fishermen of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence have requested the meeting to discuss the crisis that their industry now faces.

They have asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea, to organize the meeting and that she convene the Ministers for Fisheries for the Atlantic provinces and Quebec.

The lobster fishermen on the Atlantic know the difficulties without precedent. The price they are offered at the wharf for their catches are lower then they have been for the last 30 years.

The weekend before last, the Federal Minister, Peter MacKay had indicated that Ottawa will look at many scenarios for helping the fishermen. Leonard LeBlanc, a fisherman of Cheticamp, isn’t rejoicing too quickly, “We are optimistic, but I think that we will have to wait and see exactly what it is they have to offer,” he said.

The fishers have three requests to ask of the Minister Gail Shea. Leonard LeBlanc explained that the first thing the fishers want is some security measures which will give all the fishermen admission to the employment insurance.

Second, the fishermen request that there be subsidies which will help them overcome the crisis.

Third, they request help to reduce the effort of fishing. “The third request, is for money from the Federal, Provincial governments and from the industry to repurchase long term permits,” Leonard LeBlanc said precisely.

They are now waiting for the response of the Minister, Gail Shea. The fishermen of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence dream of suspending the fishing, indicated Christian Brun, Speaker for the Union of Fishermen of the Maritimes (UPM).

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