Most of the fishers in P.E.I.’s largest lobster fishing zone support a carapace size increase for the 2018 season.
The P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association mailed out a survey to the 601 commercial fishers in LFA 24, which runs the length of the province’s north shore. There was a response rate of 70.4 per cent, or 423 fishers.
A total of 242 fishers (58 per cent) were in favour of an increase in the minimum size, while the idea was opposed by 178 fishers (42 per cent). There were three spoiled ballots.
Of those favouring an increase, 171 (71 per cent) want an increase of one millimeter, which would mean a new size of 73 millimetres, if the Department of Fisheries and Oceans follows the recommendation. A further 69 (29 per cent) want a half a millimetre increase to 72.5 millimetres.
There were two fishers who voted for an increase that didn’t specify which size they preferred.
Fishers were also asked whether they support a minimum of two escape panels per parlor end to be implemented by the 2019 fishing season in LFA 24. On this question, 226 (54 per cent) were in support and 192 (46 per cent) were opposed, with three spoiled ballots.
On the topic of having a maximum carapace size of 115 mm for female lobster (release all females at or above that size) for the 2018 fishing season in LFA 24, there was sharp division. A total of 216 fishers (51.2 per cent) supported the idea while 206 (48.8 per cent) voted no. There was one spoiled ballot.
When asked their preferred number of minimum traps per line in LFA 24 next year, 278 (66 per cent) favoured six traps per line, while 108 (26 per cent) suggested a five-trap line. There were 37 spoiled ballots (nine per cent).
The association will be forwarding the results of the questionnaire to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.