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PEI Minister Speaks out on Shellfish Harvesting Ban

by the Fish Site Editor
03 September 2009, at 1:00am

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA - PEI's Minister of Fisheries has requested immediate testing of shellfish harvesting areas.

Prince Edward Island Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development Minister, Neil LeClair, has requested an immediate testing of water quality to determine if shellfish harvesting can be resumed. The ban on shellfish harvesting throughout most of the Maritimes was put in place on Monday by the federal departments of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans because of concerns about run-off from recent heavy rains.

"I am extremely frustrated by the unilateral decision made by the federal departments with no advance consultation or planning," said Minister LeClair. "Shellfish harvesting areas have never been closed in the past because of heavy rainfall, and this decision is not acceptable without discussions involving provincial governments and the industry."

Minister LeClair said that the provincial government monitors water quality in shellfish harvesting areas on an ongoing basis to assure the marketplace of the safety of harvested shellfish. The results are reported regularly to the federal Department of Environment. The Minister said that food safety remains a priority.

"The action by the federal government is completely unacceptable and will impose real hardship on the shellfish industry," he said. "I have expressed my frustration to Minister Gail Shea, and will be discussing this issue with my provincial colleagues in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as well."

The Minister said that testing must be completed immediately to clear up any possible concerns about water quality.

"The federal government must act quickly to resolve this issue," said Minister LeClair. "Shellfish harvesters need and deserve quick answers."

the Fish Site Editor