The Moonlighter policy achieved this by targeting fishermen who held other jobs or professions, as several did to help provide for their families. It was deemed that fishing was not their primary source of income and they became “Class B” lobster fishermen. The policy operated by creating two categories:
Category A licences for those fully dependent on the lobster fishery.
Category B licences for those DFO deemed not fully dependent, but with a historical attachment to the lobster fishery.
Since the implementation of the policy, Category B lobster licence holders have only been eligible to fish one-third of the trap limit of a Category A licence holder.
This provided an immediate burden on these fishermen, who were in many cases making a small amount of money in their second jobs, and now faced reduced income from fishing.
Over the years, it became impossible to save for a retirement.
Class B lobster fishermen still incurred the same expenses as Class A fishermen (docking, boat insurance, maintenance) while yielding significantly less catch. With an inability to generate significant savings, their hope for retirement became largely dependent on potential revenue from the licence itself.Take Action Now
However, a second implication of the Moonlighter Policy dictated that Category B licences were not transferable and expire upon death of the holder. As the licence expires, any compensation for the fishermen expires with it.
They cannot be sold or left to a family member. This has left Class B holders unable to retire, or to leave anything behind for their families. They are left with no choice but to continue lobster fishing.
After years of unfair treatment, Class B fishermen are seeking policy changes to what is viewed as an outdated punishment.
It is time to move forward with new policy that provides fair treatment to elderly fishers, and beneficial opportunities to multiple parties, including DFO. Our goal is to influence common-sense policy that allows these fishermen to sell or pass down their licence so they can stop fishing and still support their loved ones.