Time to act
Fishermen frustrated over lack of action on proposal to hold spring, fall licences
Fishermen voiced frustrations Friday that a vote nearly two years ago favouring allowing lobster fishermen to hold spring and fall licences still has not been acted upon.
Prince County Fishermen’s Association president Lee Knox, at the organization’s annual meeting, told members there still exists misunderstanding on how to proceed with the combining of licences.
Although it was voted on and passed by membership, the criteria was to be decided at a later date, and that hasn’t happened.
“That’s our next step,” he said. “The proposal has to be put in place, and that proposal will consist of moving ahead with the Western Gulf (Fishermen’s Association).”
It was noted that since the initial Prince County Fishermen’s Association vote, members of the Western Gulf have voted in favour of allowing fishermen from the two districts to combine lobster licences.
The Prince County Fishermen’s Association represents all of the Island’s fall fishermen in Lobster Fishing Area 25, while the Western Gulf represents fishermen in the western end of Lobster Fishing Area 24, a spring fishery. Knox noted the agreement, if it passes at a subsequent special meeting, would apply only to fishermen from the districts represented by both groups.
Knox said his members who voted in favour of combining licences during the April 2014 meeting included fishermen who supported the motion provided it contained a rationalization provision.
Gary McRae argued in favour of moving ahead based on the 2014 vote.
“Sixty-eight per cent said we wanted two licences. That’s it. Why didn’t we start talking right away? Why are we going on two years later for talking, ‘why don’t we do this, why don’t we do that?’ What are we waiting for?”
“You have to put a proposal in place,” Knox insisted.
He said a swing of 10 votes, based on the inclusion or exclusion of a rationalization clause, could have caused that 2014 vote to fail. There was indication Friday that rationalization might not be part of the process moving forward.
Rationalization details, Knox concedes, should have been decided before the original vote.
“We have to put a proposal together, and we have to vote on it as fishermen,” he said.