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Pelagic fishermen say they are forgotten by Ottawa

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Commercial spring herring fishing in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will be prohibited until further notice.

  • Martin Toulgoat (View profile)Martin Toulgoat

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Gaspésie herring and mackerel fishermen, affected by a fishing ban for two seasons, are still waiting to know the intentions of Fisheries and Oceans Canada regarding the future of their fleet.

The president of the Association of Professional Pelagic Fishermen of the South of Gaspésie, Ghislain Collin, claims that he was unable to meet or speak to the Minister of Fisheries, Diane Lebouthillier, or to a member of his cabinet since his arrival in office at the end of July.

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Ghislain Collin, lobsterman and president of the Association of Professional Pelagic Fishermen of Southern Gaspésie.

Mr. Collin would have liked to take advantage of Minister Lebouthillier's visit to Gaspésie in recent weeks, before the resumption of parliamentary work in the House of Commons, to meet her.

I am very close to his constituency office. I could have met her at an hour's notice, but it's radio silence. We are, however, a recognized group, but no contact with it.

A quote from Ghislain Collin, president of the Association of Professional Pelagic Fishermen of Southern Gaspésie

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Diane Lebouthillier, federal MP for Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, at a press conference in Ottawa on October 26, 2021.

Questioned about this on January 8 while taking stock of her first months as Minister of Fisheries, Diane Lebouthillier claimed to be in contact with pelagic fishermen, without giving further details.

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What I can tell you is that I had several meetings with mackerel and herring fishermen [… ], and when I have additional information to add for pelagic anglers, rest assured that I will do so.

A quote from Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

This Gaspé group has 20 pelagic fishermen and would like to be able to obtain allocations temporary agreements to fish for snow crab or emerging species from the St. Lawrence in order to allow its members to avoid bankruptcy.

We know that there are great chefs who would like to have good fresh fish from the Gaspésie, so it could be exploratory fishing, scientific fishing, to assess the profitability of these new species, develop markets and make our own. own fisheries, underlines Ghislain Collin.

Remember that Fisheries and Oceans Canada has imposed a ban on fishing for spring herring and mackerel in 2022 due to the critical state of stocks.

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