Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

UPM launches license buyback program for herring fishermen< /p>Open in full screen mode

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

  • René Landry (View profile)René Landry

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The Maritime Fishermen's Union (UPM) is preparing to launch, using its funds, a license buy-back program for herring fishermen.

Fishermen who are closer to retirement, we believe perhaps there are some who would be interested in retiring from fishing with funds that would allow them to move on to something else, indicates Martin Mallet, director General UPM.

Spring herring fishing and mackerel fishing are subject to a moratorium. Herring catches in the fall are low. Fishermen of pelagic species – there are around fifteen of them in the Acadian Peninsula – affirm that their fleet is doomed to disappear.

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Hervé Mallet, from LeGoulet, believes that the herring fishing fleet risks disappearing.

Hervé Mallet, from Le Goulet, is considered a “young” fisherman at 52 years old. Some of his colleagues are almost 70 years old and even older.

There are several in our group who will give up, he predicts. You can't continue like this, it's impossible. You can't run a fishing business with two or three weeks of fishing per year.

LoadingYves-François Blanchet shoots some arrows at François Legault

ELSEWHERE ON INFO: Yves-François Blanchet shoots a few arrows at François LegaultLoading in progressYves-François Blanchet shoots a few arrows at François Legault

ELSE ON INFO: Yves-François Blanchet shoots a few arrows at François Legault

His fellow fisherman Stéphane Beaudin, another 51-year-old “young” fisherman from Petit-Shippagan, on Lamèque Island, agrees.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">It’s the annihilation of an ancestral fishing fleet, he says. We are on the same path as the shrimpers. It will be the extinction of the fleet, the bankruptcy of the fishing companies.

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Pelagic fisherman Stéphane Beaudin, from Petit-Shippagan, poses in front of his boat, the Marc André B.

Like Stéphane Beaudin, Hervé Mallet considers himself still too young to sell his permits, but he believes that some of his colleagues could be tempted by this avenue.

There are several in our group who are really interested in selling their permits, he says. It will take them away from fishing. There are some who are quite advanced in age.

It would help fishermen who remain in fishing, also says Martin Mallet of the #x27;UPM.

And this will make it possible to reduce the fishing effort on a herring stock which is already under pressure.

A quote from Martin Mallet, director general of the UPM

The possibility of setting up license buyback programs is also being studied by the federal government, mentions Liberal MP for Acadie-Bathurst Serge Cormier.

In all my conversations with any fleet, it has always been discussed, license buybacks, he specifies.

But not all people want to have license buyouts. There are people who still want to keep their licenses. You never know, these species may perhaps return in large quantities one day.

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The Liberal MP for Acadie-Bathurst, Serge Cormier, advocates comprehensive aid, rather than license buybacks.

However, the buyback of licenses in the case of pelagic fishermen is not an option that he advocates.

What I would like would be some kind of global aid for people who are directly or indirectly affected by these fishing closures or these drastic reductions in quotas in certain species, says -it.

The UPM indicates that fishermen who would be eligible for a license buyback will receive a notice in the coming months to know their intentions.

Martin Mallet recalls that fishing licenses have already been purchased several years ago for lobster boats, while herring fishing was going well.

Herring fishermen, like Hervé Mallet and Stéphane Beaudin, find that the UPM, of which they are members, is not doing enough for them. We feel abandoned, they say.

The list of their criticisms is quite long. From the difficulty of obtaining a meeting with the federal Minister of Oceans, Diane Lebouthillier, to their desire to obtain part of the snow crab quota from the UPM, including the predominant place occupied by the lobstermen within this organization.

The UPM takes the ball from the MPO, the MPO takes the ball from the UPM. It's been going on for eight years.

A quote from Stéphane Beaudin, fisherman

We can clearly sense the exasperation of fisherman Stéphane Beaudin .

There was spring herring, we have a moratorium, he begins to list. There was mackerel, we have a moratorium. There was cod, we have a moratorium. There was plaice, we have a moratorium on that too. The only thing we have left is an Atlantic halibut fishery, which is aderby for six to twelve hours a year. It's a joke.

UPM considers that it is greatly exaggerated to think that she abandoned herring fishermen.

Regarding access to snow crab managed by the UPM, the general director emphasizes that it is access that is community-based for all of our members in New Brunswick. We have about 1000 fishermen. We try to treat everyone equally.

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The general director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union, Martin Mallet, considers it a great exaggeration to think that the organization has abandoned the herring fishermen.

He also mentions that four or five pelagic fishermen will be able to fish for crab this spring, following a draw by lot.

It's often the normal reaction of certain people to criticize a decision when it goes against what was requested by a person or a group, thinks Martin Mallet. We try to do our best to meet the needs of everyone in the big UPM family. Obviously, we cannot satisfy the needs of only a few fishermen, without the knowledge of the vast majority.

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The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Diane Lebouthillier, intends to keep fishermen informed of upcoming developments in issues that affect them.

Following the comments made by fishermen Hervé Mallet and Stéphane Beaudin, federal Minister Diane Lebouthillier sent a note to Radio-Canada to show that she was well aware of the situation.

I have had several meetings with pelagic fishermen and I know that currently, with climate change warming our oceans, things are not going well in the fisheries sector for many species, including mackerel and herring, she writes.

We need science, to look to new fisheries and to make responsible decisions. The work will continue and I will make sure to keep our fishermen informed as I have new information to share with them, she says.

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