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Flat fishing: fishermen’s fears are confirmed, a moratorium is imposed

Courtoisie Jean-Bernard Bourgeois

Îles de la Madeleine

The federal government is ending the commercial fishery for winter flounder and yellowtail flounder indefinitely.

Announced last Thursday, the moratorium comes just weeks before the opening of the fishery.

The prolonged critical state of groundfish stocks is the reason for the decision by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which has seen no sign of recovery despite the measures put in place over the years, explains Cédric Arseneau, director of the Islands Area Office.

Discussions with fishermen did not result in an action plan that was acceptable to all parties, he says.

For the time being, the department does not foresee any compensation, financial or otherwise, to compensate the Magdalen Islanders, Arseneau said.

For the Regroupement des pêcheurs d’appâts des Îles, DFO’s decision was received as a slap in the face, according to its president, Jean-Bernard Bourgeois.

While he emphasizes that he understands the department’s obligations in relation to the conservation of winter flounder and yellowtail flounder, he deplores the fact that the federal government is not offering any alternative solution to the fishermen and their employees, who are seeing their investments and their livelihoods go up in smoke.

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