Belliveau: No reason Southwest fishers can’t be consulted prior to March summit

February 21, 2014

(Shelburne, NS) NDP Fisheries critic Sterling Belliveau says there is no reason fishers in Southwest Nova Scotia can’t be consulted about Lobster panel recommendations prior to a March Minister’s Summit.

In today’s Chronicle Herald it was reported that Liberal Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell would, “like to have feedback from South Shore fishermen prior to the summit, but the fishing schedule won’t permit it.” Belliveau says the relocation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Digby and Shelburne in 2013 makes it possible for government to consult with the industry even at the height of lobster season.

“I know it’s challenging to meet with fishers this time of year but an effort needs to be made,” said Belliveau. “A lot has changed since Mr. Colwell was last Minister in the 1990s. His department is now located in the heart of Southwest Nova Scotia. It is now very easy for DFA staff to visit wharfs on a daily basis to hear directly from crews how they feel about the panels’ recommendations.”

Belliveau says he’s pleased the Liberal government is continuing the work the NDP started to strengthen Nova Scotia’s fishing industry. He stressed, however, that change needs to be driven by the industry itself.

“Our fishery has remained resilient for so many generations because of its independence,” said Belliveau. “I encourage the Minister to give the industry the tools it needs to bring about positive change without resorting to tactics the industry itself does not support.”