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Conservatives Must Come Clean on Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation Policies

Conservatives Must Come Clean on Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation Policies

Posted on August 24, 2012

MONTAGUE, PEI– The Conservative government must immediately clarify its contradictory statements on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) fleet separation and owner-operator policies, said Liberal Fisheries and Oceans critic Lawrence MacAulay today.

“The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has now stated that his government has not yet made a decision on whether or not they will keep these crucial policies in place,” said Mr. MacAulay. “This is puzzling because it directly contradicts an earlier statement by Nova Scotia Conservative MP Gerald Keddy, who claimed he ‘talked at length’ with the Minister and was assured that they would be maintained.”

For months, the DFO’s owner-operator and fleet separation policies have been a source of controversy for the Conservative government. The fleet separation policy, which keeps large corporations from owning fishing licenses for vessels under 65 feet, and the owner-operator policy, which requires the owner of a vessel to personally catch the fish, have protected the independence of Canada’s Atlantic inshore and mid-shore fisheries for decades.

“The Conservatives’ statements simply do not add up,” said Mr. MacAulay. “Either a decision has been made or it has not been made and the people of Atlantic Canada and coastal Quebec deserve to know the truth. I call on the government to immediately settle this matter by coming out in full support of the fleet separation and owner-operator policies.”