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October 17, 2003
For immediate release

Minister Releases 2003 Lobster Landings

Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry

Lobster landings in 2003 were up slightly over last year according to preliminary figures released today by Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry Kevin MacAdam.

"I am pleased to report that total landings for 2003 reached 20.0 million pounds a very slight increase from the 19.9 million pounds landed in 2002," said Minister MacAdam.

The total landings for 2003 include the fall season in Area 25, the western Northumberland Strait from Victoria to North Cape; and the spring season in Area 24, along the North Shore of PEI, and Area 26A, in the eastern Northumberland Strait.

Landings this spring from Areas 24 and 26A totalled 17.6 million pounds, an increase of 0.6 million pounds or over 3.0 per cent over 2002. The largest increase was in Area 24 where catches were up 9.0 per cent to 13.0 million pounds, compared to 11.9 million pounds in 2002. Landings in Area 26A totalled 4.6 million pounds, a decrease of approximately 10.0 per cent or .5 million pounds from 2002.

Minister MacAdam said figures recently compiled by his department for the fall lobster season indicate landings were 2.38 million pounds. That represents a decrease of approximately 16.0 per cent or 450,000 pounds in comparison to the 2002 landings in this area.

"I am pleased to see that lobster landings remain strong overall. However, I share the concern of fishers in Area 25 who have seen their catch decline," said Minister MacAdam, commenting on the 2003 season. "My department will be working with the fishing industry, PEI Fishermen's Association and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to try and address the issue of decreasing landings in the Northumberland Strait."

The minister noted that the landed value of the lobster catch for the 2003 season will again be slightly over the $100 million range.

"Lobster continues to be a key component of the Prince Edward Island fishery, with lobster landings representing over 60 per cent of the total landed value of the fishery," Minister MacAdam added. "I look forward to continuing to work closely with the industry and other partners to maintain the position of the lobster fishery as an important part of our rural economy."

Preliminary figures for the 2003 lobster landings are based on information provided to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry by licensed lobster buyers throughout Prince Edward Island.

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Media Contact: Lewie Creed
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