We received the announcement from DFO regarding low breaking strength gear requirements for 2024. This is only the announcement about low breaking strength, not management changes (recommended shift in lines, grid sizes, etc.) The key message is:

“DFO announces that the use of lower breaking strength fishing gear will be voluntary only in 2024. Through engagement with fish harvesters and assessment of gear trial results, DFO has identified certain commercial lobster fisheries that have achieved positive LBS gear trial results, which demonstrate the gear may be used safely and effectively. In the coming months, DFO will work with industry to facilitate voluntary adoption of LBS in those fisheries to further mitigate entanglement risk to large endangered whales such as North Atlantic right whales. The Department recognizes that whalesafe fishing gear is not a one size fits all solution for fisheries, and we are taking the necessary time to make sure that innovative fishing gear to protect whales is safe for harvesters, effective at protecting whales and readily available to harvesters.”

DFO has already reached out and they will be meeting with the LFA advisory Chairs in January to discuss further what this means to PEI fishers.