MacLeod’s Ledge re­turned to LFA 24

Journal Pioneer - - Prince County - BY ERICMCCART­HY

TIG­NISH — Sea­cow Pond fisher Francis Mor­ris­sey re­calls the con­tro­versy cre­ated when the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans or­dered spring lob­ster fish­er­men off of MacLeod’s Ledge in the 1990s.

Mor­ris­sey, and gen­er­a­tions of fish­er­men be­fore him, had set traps on the ledge which is lo­cated about six kilo­me­tres to the north­north­east off the tip of North Cape.

Fish­er­men were told the lob­ster fish­ing rights to the ledge be­longed to fish­ers from the Mag­dalen Is­lands.

Fed­eral Fish­eries Min­is­ter Gail Shea an­nounced this week her depart­ment is re­turn­ing the grounds to Lob­ster Fish­ing Area 24.

Mor­ris­sey said it should never have hap­pened. He is pleased Fish­eries Min­is­ter Gail Shea, whose con­stituents in­clude the fish­ers who tra­di­tion­ally fished the ledge, is right­ing a wrong.

“ Where the prob­lem came was in ‘85 when some­body de­cided to re­draw the lob­ster lines,” Mor­ris­sey re­called. “ They didn’t come and con­sult with the fish­er­men who were fish­ing in the area. Some­body in the depart­ment some­place just went and drew ‘this is where Area 24 lob­ster bound­ary is.’ “ Well, no­body looked at any­thing back then. They never con­sulted with the fish­er­men. No­body even knew that wasn’t ours. We just con­tin­ued to fish it un­til that year when they came out and said, ‘you’re not in your zone. You’re out­side your zone. It be­longs to the Mag­dalen Is­lands.’”

The ledge was named af­ter Tig­nish fish­er­man Wil­liam MacLeod who dis­cov­ered it in the 1920s.

Af­ter be­ing kept off the ledge for three weeks, Mor­ris­sey said, the depart­ment is­sued a vari­a­tion or­der which al­lowed cer­tain fish­ers to re­turn to that rich piece of fish­ing ground. That caused hard feel­ings, he ac­knowl­edged, be­cause DFO only al­lowed fish­ers it had ev­i­dence of be­ing on the ledge to re­turn. The fol­low­ing year, and all sub­se­quent years any LFA 24 fisher who wanted to fish on the ledge could do so sim­ply by ap­ply­ing for a vari­a­tion or­der.

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