The lobster fishery in Canada has one of the longest histories of regulation. Many of the management measures in place today date back over a century, with the first sustainability measure – protection of egg-bearing females – put in place in the early 1870s.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada works closely with the lobster fishing industry to develop and update Integrated Fisheries Management Plans that cover the lobster fisheries. Management measures are tailored to the unique needs of each Lobster Fishing Area.
The inshore lobster fishery is managed by “input control,” which means that a limit is placed on fishing efforts. Sustainability measures include:
The offshore lobster fishery in area 41 has many of the same conservation measures in place as well as an annual limit on the number of lobsters that may be caught, referred to as total allowable catch. The current total allowable catch for this fishery is 720 tonnes and has remained unchanged since 1989.
Federal Fisheries Regulations and Enforcements
- Release of all female bearing eggs
- Release of all females of 115mm & up carapace size back to wild
- Any lobsters not meeting the minimum carapace size are released. The carapace size in Area 24 is 75mm and Area 25 is 77mm.
- All lobster fishing gear are equipped with built-in escape mechanisms and biodegradable panels geared for natural release of small lobster and fish eliminates 100% ghost fishing.
- New entrant requirements
- Limited fishing seasons
- Limited number of lobster traps per harvester
- PEI Fish harvesters voluntarily do not fish on Sunday
- Protection of prime lobster habitat through buffer zones
- Enforcement by Canadian Conservation & Protection Officers
- Each fish harvester is required to register their vessel and apply to specific marine safety policies through Transport Canada Regulations
- Mandatory safety training for each fish harvester include but are not limited to Marine Emergency Duties training, up-to date
- First Aid & CPR certification, completion of Radio course
Provincial Fisheries Regulations and Resources
- Buffer zone regulations in place to keep Island waterways clean and protected
- Provincial Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Rural Development employ a full time lobster biologist who assist in coordinating PEI’s lobster data collection programs. PEI DFARD also compile and analyze statistics on all aspects of the fishing industry, including landings and values, production, imports and exports and other related information
- Ensuring processing facilities are licensed and comply with provincial regulations under the PEI Fish Inspection Act and the PEI Fisheries Act