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Women Muted in P.E.I. Fishing Roles

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA - A new report suggests the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association needs to extend voting rights for female members, but the association says federal regulations stand in the way.

The study of women's roles in the P.E.I. fishery, conducted by the group Women for Environmental Sustainability, says membership rules need to be changed to allow more women to have a voice.

But changing those rules is not in the association's power. It is governed by regulations laid down by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which say only core licence holders can be voting members. While women often work side by side with their husbands and partners on their boats, it is most often the man's name on the licence.

"Because of the situation we face in terms of determining or having input to resource management decisions, economic issues that face licence holders, we essentially have to follow the guidelines as laid down by DFO," executive director Ed Frenette told CBC News Monday.

"That department is the one that deals directly with the core licence holder. In terms of the PEIFA, we do have an affiliate membership available, however it's a voice with no vote."

Frenette said the association would like to allow more women full membership, but DFO would have to change its rules first.

About 11 per cent of fishing licence holders on P.E.I. are women, which Frenette said is a higher percentage than in other parts of the region.

the Fish Site Editor

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