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PEI Mussel Farm to Grow Over Lobster Territory

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA - The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is preparing to lift a 10-year moratorium on granting new leases to P.E.I. mussel farmers, in spite of opposition from the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association.

According to cbc.ca, the long-term effects of chemicals used against mussel pests are unclear, says Ed Frenette of the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association. The news organisation says that the island fish farmers pioneered the practice of cultivating mussels, and account for 80 per cent of all those grown in Canada. But 10 years ago they ran out of space. With nearly every suitable bay and estuary filled to capacity, DFO stopped the industry's growth.

Now a new report commissioned by DFO is recommending expanding aquaculture again, but only on Malpeque Bay. The consultant's report recommends increasing farming on Malpeque Bay by about 575 hectares. That would bring it to a total of 1,975 hectares, roughly 10 per cent of the bay.

However, the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, which sat on the steering committee for the report, is concerned about how expansion of mussel farming could affect other fisheries, reports cbc.ca. Malpeque Bay is a valuable lobster spawning ground, which could be threatened by the use of chemicals to fight invasive species that are pests for mussel farmers.

the Fish Site Editor

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