This letter will not be too long. The fact is that things are unusually quiet right now in the fishery. The implications of the "Marshall" Decision have become the priority these days, throughout the fishery; but right now things are quiet while DFO, the Native communities, and the rest of us get our acts together to come to terms with the situation. Meanwhile, other issues seem to be put on the back burner.
Those other issues still need to be addressed. We must have a decision on lobster conservation measures. The Minister remains determined that egg production in every Lobster Fishing Area must be doubled by 2001. That means that in our area we either ask for a 1/16" increase in minimum carapace-size this year, and next year again; or do nothing this year, and then next year we have to have a 3/32" increase, plus a 5" maximum size on females.
There are recurring issues with Groundfish, Herring, and Large Pelagics. With Groundfish, we are asking for a bit of cod next year, as there were some good catches, particularily in deeper water. At the same time, we know that the big criminals that destroyed the fishery in the first place, are determined to have it all when the fish come back any more.
We would like to see 4Vn open for Tuna, with the possibility of some of our fishermen getting licenses transferred from the Gulf. With Swordfish, we have to watch out that our past history is not fogotten, and that the longline fleet from Sou-West Nova not get all of the quota.
2000 will be a busy enough year for our Local, and the other groups in 4Vn. We made a good start at our Cape Breton Co-Management Board, working together to take on a greater management role, in talks held last winter. The implications of "Marshall", and other issues, should and could strengthen our resolve to all work together. But we know that at any time things could unravel, and fishermen lose focus, and forget that we need more than ever to work together. Let's hope that we can all remain united, and take the challenge of "Marshall", and try to make something positive of it all.
I hope that you all have a safe, healthy, and a successful fishing season in 2000! Please keep in touch. Hope to see you all at our Annual Meeting,Jeff
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