First round of lob­ster bid­ding un­der­way

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY CLAY­TON HUNT

Lob­ster har­vesters from Point Crewe in For­tune Bay to Big Brook on the North­ern Penin­sula (Ar­eas 11 to 14B) are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the first round of bid­ding un­der the lob­ster en­ter­prise re­tire­ment pro­gram (LERP) in an op­por­tu­nity to pos­si­bly leave the in­dus­try.

The LERP rep­re­sents a ma­jor el­e­ment of the Con­ser­va­tion and Sus­tain­abil­ity Plan for the New­found­land Lob­ster Fish­ery.

The plan was de­vel­oped by the Fish Food and Al­lied Work­ers Union (FFAW) and was ap­proved by the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments.

Bill Brod­er­ick is the pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor of the Lob­ster En­ter­prise Re­tire­ment Pro­gram.

He said although there was a high level of in­ter­est ex­pressed by har­vesters in more than 100 meet­ings held about the pro­gram, there is no way to an­tic­i­pate how many har- vesters will ac­tu­ally par­tic­i­pate in the first round of bid­ding.

“At ev­ery meet­ing held about this pro­gram, there was in­ter­est ex­pressed in this pro­gram. Of course, it re­mains to be seen how this high level of in­ter­est will ac­tu­ally trans­late into bids.”

Mr. Brod­er­ick said har­vesters need to keep in mind when sub­mit­ting bids the sys­tem will work on a re­verse auc­tion ba­sis – that is the low­est bids will be ac­cepted first.

“The sky is not the limit in this bid­ding sys­tem. Har­vesters will have to be re­al­is­tic and ask them­selves what they could ac­tu­ally get for their li­cence on the open mar­ket.”

Of­fer to sell ap­pli­ca­tions within a par­tic­u­lar lob­ster fish­ing area (LFA) will be ranked from low­est to high­est in terms of price.

The LERP pro­gram is slated to run un­til March 2014 un­less all of the $17.1 mil­lion in pro­gram fund­ing has been spent prior to this date.

Mr. Brod­er­ick said the sec­ond round of bid­ding should be com­plet- ed be­fore the 2012 lob­ster sea­son opens in April.

The LERP is in­tended to im­prove the in­come lev­els of fish har­vesters and the eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity of lob­ster de­pen­dent fish­ing enterprise­s in the prov­ince.

He sug­gested “The whole ob­ject of this pro­gram is to make it bet­ter for peo­ple stay­ing in the in­dus­try af­ter this money has been ex­hausted. The re­source out there come 2014 will be shared around with less har­vesters and that should bode well for the peo­ple left in the in­dus­try.”

Lob­ster har­vesters who are suc­cess­ful in the bid­ding process will also give up their ground­fish and crab li­cences. How­ever, they will have 24 months to sell any other li­cences such as a capelin, her­ring or scal­lop li­cences to an in­ter­ested party.

Har­vesters who are suc­cess­ful can keep their per­sonal fish­ing li­cences and work as a crewmem­ber in an­other fish­ing en­ter­prise.

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