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Fisheries and Oceans Canada says this year’s spring lobster fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will open May 15 and close on June 30.

The decision released today delays the traditional April 30 start of the season by about two weeks.

The new start date covers fishing areas 23, 24 and 26A and B along the northern coasts of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, as well as a section of the Northumberland Strait.

The season will begin at 6 a.m. on May 15 as long as weather conditions allow.

The federal department had asked fishing groups to suggest start dates and said it would rule on a delay based on any requests put forward.

In a statement, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says she and department officials have worked closely with member associations, processors, and harvesters to determine what’s needed in order to have a safe fishing season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The additional time will enable processing plants to prepare their facilities and workforce for the upcoming season, and allow everyone across the industry to put in place the necessary health and safety measures in response to COVID-19,” said Jordan.

“Together we are ensuring that the decisions we make today support the industry in the short-term, and will allow for a strong recovery in the future.”

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