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Many topics on the agenda for South West Lobster Forum taking place in Yarmouth on Sept. 19

2017 dumping day kicks off starts to lobster season. A fishing boat heads out from the East Pubnico wharf with the last load of traps. KATHY JOHNSON
A fishing boat heads out from the East Pubnico wharf with the last load of traps on dumping day in 2017. KATHY JOHNSON

YARMOUTH, N.S. – Five industry organizations representing lobster fishermen in Lobster Fishing Areas (LFA) 33, 34 and 35 are coming together to host the third annual South West Lobster Forum on Sept. 19 at the Grand Hotel in Yarmouth.

The forum “is designed for the fishermen to come and get a handle of what’s going on in the industry,” says Bernie Barry, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, one of the groups organizing this year’s event.

The Scotia Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU) Local 9 and the Brazil Rock 33/34 association are the other groups involved with the organization of the event.

Barry says there are “numerous hot topic items” on the day’s agenda including the implementation of the at-sea observer program in the LFA 33, 34 and 35 lobster fisheries this fall. The five associations have created an industry-led program to fulfill the requirement of an at-sea data collection program in the lobster fishery with the formation of the South West Lobster Science Society. Barry says about 52 percent of fishermen in the three LFAs have signed up with the lobster science society. The remaining fishermen will be participating in the DFO-led at-sea observer program.

Whales, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, ocean waste and market conditions are also up for discussions during the forum, with expert panellists and presenters, including keynote speaker John Sackton, founder of seafood.com, taking part.

A workshop and question and answer sessions are part of the forum. “It gives fishermen a voice,” says Barry, noting the forum was well-attended the last two years.

Registration for the forum can be done onsite the day of the event starting at 8 a.m. Programming starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m. with a lunch break. Lunch is provided. To pre-register go to http://www.lobsterforum.com/

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