P.E.I. groundfish licence holders offered $7,500 to give them up

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Groundfish species include halibut, shown here, as well as Atlantic cod, haddock and several other types of fish that spend their lives on or near the seafloor.
Groundfish species include halibut, shown here, as well as Atlantic cod, haddock and several other types of fish that spend their lives on or near the seafloor.

(Submitted)

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association is again offering compensation for people interested in relinquishing their groundfish licence, as it tries to reduce the size of the province's fleet.

"We've got a large number of groundfish licences on the Island, and although they're not all active, they could become active at any time," said Melanie Giffin, a marine biologist who works with the association.

"Reducing that number will work towards sustainability in the future."

Groundfish are fish that live on or near the seafloor, according to the Atlantic Groundfish Council's website. Species include Atlantic halibut, Greenland halibut, Atlantic cod, haddock, redfish, flounder and pollock.

Under this year's Fixed Gear Groundfish Rationalization Program, interested P.E.I. fishermen will be given $7,500 each in return for surrendering their licences.

The association raises the money to compensate fishermen for the relinquished licences from fees charged as part of the commercial halibut fishery.

The program, which began several years ago, is conducted on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out.

The association plans to put out two calls this year, with the second one likely coming in the summer.

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