March 3, 2004
For immediate release
MacAdam Expresses Reservations About Surette Report
Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry
“Although I have not had an opportunity as yet to review the report in detail, I am not comfortable with some of the options it puts forward, especially the option of moving forward with a long-term management plan similar to the 2002 agreement,” said Mr. MacAdam. “That option is totally unacceptable.”
The minister said he is concerned that critical documents that led to changes in the exclusion zone between 1983 and 1984 are missing. “The exclusion zone must be based on the need to protect the stock and the sea bottom, and that must continue to be a priority for fisheries management,” he said. “Our basic position is that we want a return to the 1983 zone which provides exclusion to the 25 fathom line.”
Of the two options presented in the report on the exclusion zone, Mr. MacAdam said he favours the option of a mediation process to move the conflict to a long-term solution.
“I want to sit down with the federal minister and discuss where we go from here,” he said. “I am calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to take the leadership in resolving this issue in a way that protects the resource and the viability of the Prince Edward Island fishery.”
Mr. MacAdam said he supports the recommendation in the report that further research is needed on the herring fishery off the Island’s entire north shore. “The protection afforded to the eastern end of Prince Edward Island should also be extended to the central and western parts of the Island as well,” he said.
The minister expressed frustration that portions of the report were available to the media before it was made available to the provincial government and the fishermen. “The integrity of this whole process must be assured so that everyone can have confidence in the eventual outcome,” said Mr. MacAdam. “I believe that once the facts are fully recognized the changes to the exclusion zone in 1984 will be reversed.”