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Dennis Point wharf, Lower West Pubnico, Nova Scotia.
Licensing policy distinguishes between fisheries by vessel length. The great majority of fishing enterprises conducted from vessels less than 65 feet in length belong to independent fishers, who must operate their vessels (owner-operators). Many enterprises pass from parents to the next generation. DFO generally respects the wishes of retiring fishers as to who should receive their licence upon transfer. An enterprise generally consists of a boat and licence, but fishers holding a licence may also use it on a boat belonging to someone else.
Processing companies are restricted by DFO policy from holding the fishing licences for vessels under 65 feet. For longer vessels, processing companies commonly hold the licence and own the craft.
THE FISHERY BY AREA
Eastern Nova Scotia
Starting at Sambro, just west of Halifax, the Eastern Nova Scotia Area takes in most of the eastern Nova Scotia mainland, including the upper Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic side of Cape Breton Island. The Eastern Nova Scotia Area has about 3,600 fishers and 1,300 vessels, more than half of them in Cape Breton. Many families have followed the fishing trade from generation to generation, reaching back to the early days of settlement by Acadians, Scots, and others. More recently, First Nations in the Bras d’Or Lakes area have increased their stake in the commercial fishery.
In the 1980s, large frozen-fish plants, each employing hundreds of workers to process cod and other species, dotted this coast in ports such as North Sydney, Louisbourg, Petit de Grat, Canso, and Port Bickerton. Today, after a resource decline in groundfish, none operate at anywhere near the same scale. Yet, growth in the crab, shrimp, and lobster fisheries has kept the fishery vigorous, though processing has declined. In this diversified Area, DFO and industry collaborate yearly on management plans for 35 different stocks or species.
Southwest Nova Scotia
This part of the Scotia-Fundy sector begins near Halifax and runs along Nova Scotia’s South Shore. It includes fishing communities with only a few hundred people, such as Peggy’s Cove, Port Mouton,
The Scotia-Fundy Fisheries Management Sector, Maritimes Region.
and Lockeport, and larger towns of up to a few thousand, such as Lunenburg, Liverpool, and Shelburne. At the southwest tip of Nova Scotia, for Clark’s Harbour and other towns of Cape Sable Island, fishing is the backbone of the local economy.
As the shoreline curves west and north towards the Bay of Fundy, French Acadian communities become frequent, especially in the Pubnico/Argyle region and the Clare Shore between Yarmouth and Digby. Along the Fundy coast, lobsters are the pervasive mainstay, but substantial fisheries take place
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