Time to act

Fish­er­men frus­trated over lack of ac­tion on pro­posal to hold spring, fall li­cences

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - PO­LICE

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.

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