Membership is now being accepted into a new lobster fisher’s association for Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34.
The Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association was officially formed earlier this summer after a series of meetings where as many as 300 fishers from the two LFAs attended.
“We want to be a voice at the table,” says Cape Sable Island fisher Kevin Ross, who is president of the new association. “There are all kinds of things coming at us. We’re going to meet with DFO next week (late August) to talk about a number of issues. We’re going to take them on one at a time and go from there.”
The biggest issue on the new association’s plate is the pending requirement by DFO for lobster fishers to come up with a plan to monitor and verify by-catch of other species, including cusk and cod, by the 2018/19 season.
“We’re working with industry to come up with a plan this fall,” for implementation next year, says Dwayne Surette, DFO’s chief of resource for southwestern Nova Scotia. “Whether it be observer coverage or some other way,” the intent is to be able to verify by-catch in the lobster fishery.
“We’re going to have to deal with it,” Ross says.
Marine Protected Areas, the offshore oil and gas industry and offshore wind turbine development are also on the table.
“There’s all kinds of stuff coming at us,” Ross says.
The Brazil Rock 33/34 Lobster Association has 10 directors; five from each LFA. Vice president is Paddy Grey, Sambro. Also on the board of directors from LFA 33 are Gary Nowe, Lunenburg County; Malcolm Williams, Lockeport; Jody Dedrick, Gunning Cove; and Wilford Smith, Port LaTour. From LFA 34: Bobby Newell and Shawn Muise, Yarmouth County; Curtis Halliday, Shag Harbour; and Matthew Therieault, Digby. The treasurer is Jeff Wagner, Lunenburg County.
Ross says the association has adopted guiding principles to: support one another; support a prosperous and sustainable lobster fishery for the present and the future; to cooperate with like-minded organizations in pursuit of common objectives; and to be run by lobster fishers.
The association has adopted the slogan ‘A Line Not Divided,’ a reference to the LFA 33/34 line that runs straight out from Baccaro Point about five miles to Brazil Rock, “the last rock in the two districts,” Ross says.
“That’s what divides us. Half of the rock is in 33 and the other half is in 34.”
Ross says memberships are steadily coming in. In southwestern Nova Scotia, membership forms are available at all Vernon d’ Eon fishing supplies locations. The forms are also available from all port reps.
“We’ll also be getting some up Sambro way,” Ross says. “It’s a really big district.”