The Lobster Sustainability Measures

Source: Netawek Ikjikum Vol. 5 – Issue 3 December 2009


In July 2009, Minister Gail Shea announced $65 million toward the wounded Lobster Industry as a reaction to falling prices in Atlantic Canada’s most lucrative fishery.

This $65 million announcement has a two part implementation plan. Part one is the Short Term Transitional Measures Plan which utilizes $15 million to offer each lobster license holder a Transitional Contribution to help offset the short term loss of profits. This applies to all lobster license holders who have earned income in the 2008 and 2009 lobster seasons. It only applies to those license holders who received less than $50,000 in the 2009 lobster season and can show they are at least 75% dependant on the lobster industry. License holders also have to show a 25% decrease in revenues from 2008 – 2009 lobster fishing seasons to obtain the maximum allowable payment of $5,000. All payments are taxable. DFO estimates there will be 3,000 license holders who will be eligible for the payment.

These same criteria apply to Communal Commercial license holders; however, the payments will be made to the Community organization instead of the individual. An application can be entered for each license the Communal Fishery holds. It will be up to the Community Organization on how the payment or payments are disbursed. Payments will be issued by Service Canada. The application process has now begun and the deadline for all applicants will be January 31st, 2010.

Part two of the Sustainability Measures is the Long Term Lobster Sustainability Measures. Its main purpose is to assist the lobster industry by improving sustainability in two areas, conservation and the restructuring of fleets. This is intended for all license holders, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. The $50 million is seed dollars or start up dollars only. It will cover industry developed Lobster Fishing Areas (LFA) wide conservation measures.

LFAs must meet or exceed the DFO minimum requirements (referred to as The Matrix), in order to apply for funding under part 2. LFAs if submitting a proposal to DFO, must unanimously agree on an LFA wide proposal before submitting individual proposals. All proposals must meet or exceed the following Matrix components:

  • Egg Production – To raise the size of mature female lobsters from 70mm to 72mm, and to have a size of maturity at 50%, as opposed to the 35% or 70mm, which is currently being fished. Or develop and implement a Precautionary Approach framework
  • Reliable Data – to introduce and implement the use of an electronic data collection tool to provide reliable catch and effort information
  • Ecosystem Impact – Reduce “ghost” fishing and entanglements, and record bycatch

For more information on the Lobster sustainability measures please visit the DFO’s website at

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