Apply the Precautionary Principle Before it is Too Late

In letters to the editor (Navigator, Vol 20, No. 10, October 2017), John Risley raises several examples of what we don’t know about our fishery.

We have no real idea of what our fishing industry resources are going to look like in 10 years’ time, including changes in location and abundance. He points out we are enjoying record catches for Atlantic Canada’s most valuable species, lobster; but we have no idea whether we can count on these catches to remain stable or improve or go into decline.

Maybe the time has come to apply the Precautionary Principle before it is too late. In other words, should be made right now to reduce effort levels by enhancing selected regulations.

As is the tradition in this input regulated fishery, this should continue until the landed lobster index levels off and perhaps even starts to decline. The inshore Maritime lobster fishery is one of the most regulated fisheries in Canada and a ‘trial and error’ method guided by negative feedback from lobster landings has served this 145 plus year-old fishery well in the past.

Chris Corkett

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