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 Summary of the Eel Advisory Committee Conference Call
August 19, 2014 at 14:30

• Rationale for the meeting: Given the gear conflicts between some harvesters in the past years, it was C&P’s opinion that it would be in everyone’s interest that a meeting be held in order to advise the eel harvesters of the approach that will be taken by Fishery Officers when dealing with disputes, in an effort to prevent potential conflicts from recurring.

• Purpose: To provide a consistent and objective approach, based on legal provisions, which is acceptable to the eel harvesters on PEI.

• Gear setting:

o Definition of set gear: A set eel net is defined as an eel fyke net with leader attached. The leader must be in place and staked or anchored and the net back stake must be in place stretching the eel net out. The net must be capable of fishing and retaining eels.

IMPORTANT: In the event that anoxic conditions are present on opening day, a net may be set but the end shall be left open, in order to render the net incapable of catching or retaining eels.

o Assigned locations: Subject to specific river system agreements (see next bullet), the commercial eel fishery is not managed by the issuance of berths in PEI, essentially it is a first on site or first-come, first choice approach.

o Southwest River Agreement: DFO C&P has facilitated an agreement between the existing eel harvesters in part of New London Bay. Should conflicts arise in this area, Fishery Officers would rely on the agreement to settle the dispute.

• Conflict scenarios and dispute resolution:

o Where 2 harvesters arrive at a location at the same time: Harvesters are encouraged to resolve the matter between them in an amicable/professional fashion. If unsuccessful, they are directed not to set their gear but to contact their local Fishery Officer to resolve the dispute. The Fishery Officer will consider, but not limited to, the historical usage of that specific location.

o Improperly set gear: If a harvester arrives at a location and comes upon a fyke net that has not been set (according to the definition provided) but simply placed on site, the harvester is permitted to set his/her own fyke net. The harvester is requested to document the setting of his/her gear (date, time, GPS coordinates, tag number, etc.), as well as document the gear that was placed at that location (tag number if possible) and take a picture (if possible) where both nets will be visible. The harvester is also required to advise his/her local Fishery Officer prior to setting the net.

IMPORTANT: Harvesters are directed not to move or tamper with another’s harvesters gear, even though it has been improperly set. The Fishery Officer who will respond to the call will make arrangements to have the gear removed.

o Conflict with Silverside nets: As the Silverside fishery is managed by the issuance of ‘berths’, the net has to be set at the coordinates indicated in the licence. In the event that an eel net, which was previously set prior to the opening of the Silverside fishery, comes into conflict with the setting of the Silverside net, the eel net must be removed. The harvesters are encouraged to resolve the matter between them in an amicable/professional fashion. If unsuccessful, the Silverside harvester is directed not to set his/her gear but to contact a local Fishery Officer to resolve the dispute. The Fishery Officer will direct the eel harvester to remove his/her net, prior to the Silverside net being set.

IMPORTANT: Harvesters are directed not to move or tamper with another’s harvesters gear. The Fishery Officer who will respond to the call will make arrangements to have the gear removed.

o Refusal to remove gear: In the event that a harvester is directed by a Fishery Officer to remove his/her gear and that the harvester neglects or refuses to remove the gear, the Fishery Officer will make arrangements to have the gear removed and the owner of the said gear will be responsible for the costs of the removal, not to mention that potential charges may be laid against the owner.

• Legal Provisions:

o Fisheries Act:
53. Disputes between persons relating to fishing limits or claims to fishery stations, or relating to the position and use of nets and other fishing apparatus, shall be settled by the local fishery officer.

54. Fishery officers may determine or prescribe the distance between each and every fishery and shall forthwith remove any fishing apparatus or materials that the owner neglects or refuses to remove, and the owner is liable for a contravention of this Act and for the cost of removing the apparatus and materials and any damages that may result therefrom.

o Maritime Provinces Fishery regulations:
26. Except as otherwise provided as a condition of a licence, no person shall
(e) … fish with or set any fishing gear, other than angling gear, a dip net, a minnow trap or a spear, within 200 m of any fishing gear previously set.

• Disclaimer
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any of the legal materials found on this site, which have been prepared for convenience only and have no official sanction. For purposes of interpreting and applying the law, users should consult:
(a) the Acts as passed by Parliament, which are published in the "Assented to" Acts service, Part III of the Canada Gazette and the annual Statutes of Canada; and
(b) the regulations, as registered by the Clerk of the Privy Council and published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.