Gander, NL – Clifford Small, MP for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame and Shadow Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, released the following statement on the decision to force closure of the lobster fishery in LFA 23, due to the sighting of a North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW):

“Trudeau’s Fisheries Minister #6 – Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, is failing lobster fishers and those that rely on their landings to earn a living at a most critical time in the season by imposing a 15-day closure.

“The whale in question was sighted and reported to have been in waters of a depth of 10 fathoms. Based on GPS coordinates, it was later determined that the actual water depth was 12.5 fathoms.

“Instead of cancelling fishing industry livelihoods, NDP-Liberal Minister Lebouthillier must be flexible and allow the LFA 23 lobster fishery to continue in depths of 10 fathoms and less, where these whales do not transit or feed.

“Fisheries management under Minister Lebouthillier is completely in line with 9 years of failure by this NDP-Liberal government.

“She must listen to lobster fishers, who have consistently protected these whales, and offer a solution to continue that protection while providing for their families and coastal communities at the same time.

“Common Sense Conservatives will make sure the voices of the fishing industry are heard and listened to, so that more powerful paycheques are earned in Atlantic Canada.”