The Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association (previously the LFA27 Management Board) represents inshore owner-operator fish harvesters in Eastern Cape Breton many of whom are fishing or have historically fished in the area covered by the St. Anns Bank proposed Marine Protected Area. Association members are heavily affected by the proposed MPA, which covers over 15 per cent of their fishing grounds (4Vn) and yet, they were not properly consulted during the development period of the MPA.
The Association fully supports the Government of Canada’s effort to protect our marine and coastal waters through MPAs. We see this as an advantage for the inshore, sustainable fishery using low-impact fishing methods as most MPAs around the world favour our industry by excluding industrialized fishing and other environmentally destructive developments. However, the proposed regulations for the St. Anns Bank MPA fall short of that ideal.
The Proposed Regulations designate over 81% of the protected area as an exclusive no-fishing zone. The members of the Association use sustainable, low-impact fishing methods and need not be excluded from operating in much of the proposed MPA.
In the Gazette I Proposed Regulations, the following fishing gear are cited as acceptable in the Marine Protected Area:
- fishing, other than commercial fishing, that is authorized under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations;
- fishing for seals and any related activity that is authorized under the Marine Mammal Regulations or the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations ;
- in Zone 2, commercial or recreational fishing by means of a pot, trap, rod and reel, harpoon, bottom longline, handline, gill net or by diving;
- in Zones 3 and 4, commercial or recreational fishing by means of a pot, trap, rod and reel, harpoon, bottom longline or handline.
The Association therefore suggests two changes to the proposed regulations:
- The management zones where our sustainable, low impact fisheries would be allowed, should be increased in size (see red zones below), and
- the pelagic fisheries (targeting tuna and swordfish) should be re-assessed and they should be allowed within the entire MPA, just as seal fishing is.
Link to the St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area Regulations in Gazette now
If you would like to support these changes, please sign a Blank Letterthat we have composed and email it to Christie Chute, Manager, Marine Conservation Program with Fisheries and Oceans Canada at email@example.com, or contact her by phone 1-613-818-6578 or fax 1-613-990-4810.