Dalhousie Law Journal


Rod Snow


Lobster fishery, licensing, injustice, muddling through, fisherman, labour, investment, lifestyle


Lobster means different things to different people: for some it is the ultimate in gourmet dining; for the lobster fisherman it is the object of his labour and investment and the key to his lifestyle. There are over 20,000 lobster fishermen in Atlantic Canada who land approximately 36 million pounds of lobster at an annual landed value of about $40 million.' Lobster is Atlantic Canada's single most valuable fishery, more valuable than cod or herring. 2 Management of the lobster fishery is entrusted to the Fisheries and Marine Service of Environment Canada. A central aspect of their management programme has been an extensive licensing system. This article is intended to provide an overview of that system with the avowed object of encouraging a reconsideration of the present legislation. It is also written in the hope that some of the legal loopholes found presently in the legislation will encourage test litigation by lawyers acting for lobster fishermen should these loopholes remain open.