A lobster fishermen's organization has grown to over 100 members after just two weeks.
The Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Fishermen's Association, formed to give a united voice to fishermen, have already had meetings with officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
One of the directors of Brazil Rock, Shawn Muise, a lobster fisherman from Argyle, Yarmouth County, says the issues range from incidental by-catch monitoring, Marine Protected Areas, protecting the Atlantic Right Whale, an offshore wind mill proposal and more.
"These are issues we can help lobster fishermen with."
He says there are two things that are off the table ...video monitoring and hail-in/hail-out.
DFO will require license holders to have 1% monitoring for 2018.
"Those would not work for this fleet or any lobster fleet for that matter. We would suggest to DFO that the 1% monitoring. observer coverage would be the best option. Just the cost and the time it would take to go over all this data, it would take an awful lot of people to cover the video monitoring, plus there are serious privacy concerns. It's off the table. We will have further calls with the MFU and Coldwater Lobster Association next week. on these issues"
Something new for this coming lobster season is a requirement by Transport Canada for each license holder to maintain a vessel safety log book.
"We're trying to make these safety books for them, not in such great detail that some people have a hard time filling them out, but enough to cover them for their requirements. I'll draft up a copy next week, I'll bring it to Transport Canada and see if it's adequate. We're working on a web site for Brazil Rock and it will be a free download for members. For those that can't download or aren't that comfortable with computers, we'll provide them with a hard copy at cost which could be as low as $20."
Muise says the association now has different working groups using all the port reps or anyone who wants to help out..
More more information on the Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association you can call Kevin Ross at 902-635-0414 Shawn Muise at 902-648-8716.