Fisheries and Aquaculture
August 13, 2008

Funding Provided to FFAW for Lobster Resource Assessment

The Provincial Government has allocated a maximum contribution of $10,000 for a lobster resource assessment in area 3KLPS, located on the province�s north-east and south coasts. This funding is being made available to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program.

"This project is an example of harvesters taking a direct role in the stewardship of the fishery and having input into the management of the resource," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "As such, our government is pleased to approve funding for this initiative. This is important work because it is the most extensive attempt to date to profile lobster stocks."

The purpose of this project is to implement a scientifically-sound, at-sea logbook program and to collect biological and catch information, as well as information on how much effort has to be put into fishing to realize certain catch rates. The project will continue the use of modified traps that limit escapes of small lobster to develop reliable information on future lobster populations. The at-sea sampling and logbook component of the project are integral to stock assessment processes for lobster in this program. The modified pot component is designed to help determine the amount of lobster that will be available to the commercial fishery in the coming years. The FFAW is hopeful that this information can also serve as a predictor of major changes in lobster populations.

As part of the project, the FFAW will consult industry regarding the design of a survey and sampling protocols. The FFAW will also engage industry vessels and harvesters in the completion of the project work.

"The union, along with its members, is committed to gathering knowledge about the province�s fisheries resources," said David Decker, FFAW/CAW Secretary-Treasurer. "The more we know, the better off we are. We believe harvesters have an important and integral role to play in gathering, assessing and interpretation of data and in the science of the fishery. This kind of work builds stewardship which in the end doesn�t just benefit harvesters, but also the communities in which they live. It is hoped that the information gathered from this project will be used in conjunction with information collected since 2003 through funding from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to help inform the next scientific assessment of the lobster resource in that area."

The project will provide analysis of the data collected to the regional assessment process, thereby increasing the understanding of the stock in 3KLPS. This will promote conservation, protection and rebuilding of lobster stocks in the area. Overall, the project will promote public awareness of the importance of the lobster resource to harvesters, plant workers and the province as a whole.

"Our government continues to work with the fishing industry to develop innovative solutions for the growth and development of the fishery into the future," said Minister Taylor. "The fishery is a global industry that continues to grow and change. To ensure that our provincial fishing industry is able to compete at a global level, our government will support research and development initiatives that have the potential to enable the province to access the world�s most discerning and conscientious seafood markets."

The Provincial Government has allocated $6 million over three years for research and development projects under the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program. This is one of a series of programs that were developed as part of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy. Budget 2008 allocated $2 million for this year. To date, more than $1 million in project funding has been approved under the Fisheries Technologies and New Opportunities Program.

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Media contacts:

Lori Lee Oates
Director of Communications
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
709-729-3733, 690-8403
Lana Payne
Fish, Food and Allied Workers

2008 08 13                                                    10:40 a.m.


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