News Release Archive


Fisheries Minister Jim Barkhouse called upon federal Fisheries
and Oceans Minister Fred Mifflin today to take a serious second
look at licence fees for lobster fishermen in southwest Nova

In a letter to the federal Minister, Mr. Barkhouse said that
fishermen from southwest Nova Scotia, lobster fishing area 34
(LFA 34), are not satisfied with the response they received from
the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regarding a licence
fee review. "What fishermen expected and what DFO delivered, with
respect to a review, were totally different," he said.

Mr. Barkhouse said that fishermen expected DFO to take into
account the wide gaps in landed earnings among district 34
lobster fishermen, and to look at ways to create a more equitable
fee structure. But this has not occurred.

Mr. Barkhouse said the problem arises from the dramatic increase
in the fee, and the fact that all licence holders pay the same
amount regardless of whether they make a basic earning from the
industry or are very successful.

The lobster licence fee per fisherman in area 34 has increased
from $30 to almost $1,900. The new figure is based on the average
gross landed value of lobster in the area. 

Mr. Barkhouse said approximately 150 fishermen land less than $34
thousand worth of lobster every year. "Why should this group,
which represents 14 per cent of licence holders in LFA 34 pay the
same of $1,890 as lobster fishermen earning from $75 thousand to
several hundred thousand dollars." 

The minister said he wants DFO to look at statistics for landings
and earnings in LFA 34. "DFO recognized the disparity in earnings
among fishing districts and took this into account in structuring
licence fees. It is reasonable to take the same approach in
district 34 where there is a vast disparity in earnings among
individual fishermen," he said.

The formula for calculating fees needs to be refined to account
for the large variances in individual earnings and DFO should
take the lead in resolving the issue, said Mr. Barkhouse. 

Nova Scotia lobster fishermen do not dispute the need to shoulder
some of the financial burden of fishery management, but they do
insist that the sharing be fair, said Mr. Barkhouse. 

"Many responsible fishermen have come forward asking for
government help to resolve this apparent impasse. Their concerns
are legitimate and I want to help them find a solution which is
equitable to all players," said Mr. Barkhouse.


Contact: Diane Kenny  902-424-0308

trp                   Oct. 02, 1996 - 11:57 a.m.