By Greg Bennett
The Coast Guard
An area fisheries group is sounding alarm bells over talk from a former federal fisheries minister about the lobster industry considering boat quotas.
Gail Shea, a former minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, recently suggested that now might be the time for the East Coast lobster industry in Atlantic Canada and the United States to start looking at quotas.
Some in the industry agree.
Others do not.
James Mood, the president of the 1688 Professional Lobster Fishermen’s Association, told a group of about 40 members at a meeting in Barrington last week that introducing a quota system to the inshore lobster fishery would be a death knell for many communities.
“Along with your future and your licences goes your community,” said Mood. “This will be the land of no land …there will be one boat tied to the Woods Harbour wharf …my aluminum boat …a 14 footer.”
Mood said talk of introducing quotas within inshore lobster fisheries in nothing new. The fact the discussion has been restarted by a recent fisheries minister is concerning though, he said.
“You know what the government is like,” he said. “They are controlled by big business …but the government will do whatever it wants to do unless you stop them.”
Shea, who is the current minister of national revenue, insists such a discussion would have to be industry-driven.
Mood believes the topic may eventually come to fishermen for a vote and he cautioned those gathered at last week’s meeting that a quota system would leave the industry in the hands of a much smaller group.
“Eventually, if the corporate world is involved, you fellas are going to be wiped out,” he said. “The government is fond of destroying things …they don’t care about you …they’re in there for their own selfish gains.”
“If you want your communities to survive you have to fight the government,” he said.