New Brunswick fishermen's group disappointed with federal ruling on lobster size

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New Brunswick lobster fishermen are expressing frustration after the federal government rejected their bid to increase the minimum size of lobsters that can be caught off the province's east coast.

Christian Brun, a spokesman for the Maritime Fishermen's Union, says the decision is disappointing because it means the province's fishermen are less able to respond to their consumers' demand for larger lobsters.

On Monday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans turned down a proposal made earlier this year by the New Brunswick lobster industry to increase the minimum lobster carapace size in a fishing zone known as Lobster Fishing Area 25.

New Brunswick fishermen want it boosted to 77 millimetres by 2015, but Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield said it would increase by one millimetre to 72 mm as planned for this year's lobster fishing season.

Ashfield says any future decisions about the size of lobster carapace won't be made until his department review's the findings of a panel set up by the three provincial governments in the Maritimes that is looking into the lobster industry.

The Prince Edward Island government has applauded Ottawa's ruling, as its industry is concentrated on canned lobsters, which relies on smaller-sized crustaceans.

The decision impacts the approximately 700 lobster fishermen who hold licences for the portion of the Northumberland Strait from just south of the Confederation Bridge to the northwestern tip of P.E.I.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Maritime Fishermen, Prince Edward Island Lobster Fishing Area Ottawa

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