Fishermen gearing up for annual convention in P.E.I.

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The PEI Fishermen’s Association is gearing up for its 2010 annual general meeting and convention to be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27.

The meetings will take place at the Rodd Royalty Inn in Charlottetown. The annual general meeting will be held Friday afternoon and is open to all members in good standing. It gets underway at 1:30 p.m. Guest speaker at Friday’s lobster banquet will be Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The fishing industry has faced a multitude of issues in recent years and delegates will be anxious to hear what the federal minister will say. Everyone, of course, is looking for good news for the PEI fishery. Neil LeClair, Minister, PEI Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development will be the Saturday morning breakfast speaker giving an overview of recent provincial activity in the fishing industry sector. Saturday will see a number of guests making presentations on various aspects of the fishing industry. Dave McGuire, marketing officer for the provincial fisheries department, will provide an overview of international markets and an outlook for the coming season. John Sackton of Seafood.com, a Boston-based international market analyst, will present an economic analysis of proposed lobster carapace size increases and effects on both harvesters and the processing sector. Biologist John Garland, adviser to UPEI’s Lobster Science Center, will give an in depth analysis of proper handling of lobster, issues affecting quality and, ultimately, price. Mr. Garland’s presentation has won rave reviews from lobster fishermen throughout the region. He will be followed by Geoff Irvine, the newly appointed executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada. Mr. Irvine will bring delegates up to date on the goals and activity of the LCC and its mandate to promote Atlantic Canadian lobster. Eric Atkinson, a lawyer with the firm Mac, Mac and Mac of Nova Scotia, will speak to delegates on the complex issues of incorporating fishing enterprises and the possible tax and EI implications. Mr. Atkinson has a wealth of knowledge on the business aspects of fishing enterprises. He will be followed by Robert MacMillan, lobster biologist for provincial fisheries, who will review findings of his lobster index project in the various lobster fishing areas of Prince Edward Island. There will be numerous guests attending from throughout the region’s fishing industry. The president of the PEIFA for 2010 will be elected by delegates at the Friday afternoon AGM, which will also include PEIFA activity reports and financial audit report. The weekend will be a time for fish harvesters to socialize as well as access information important to their industry. Fishermen are urged to go to www.peifa.org or call the association at 566-4050 for convention information

Organizations: Rodd Royalty Inn, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Rural Development Lobster Council of Canada Lobster Science Center

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, PEI Fishermen, Charlottetown Nova Scotia

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