On that last point, I think what we heard in a very polite way from the Lobster Council was that Agriculture Canada has done absolutely nothing. It has been non-existent; it has not done the job.
I'll ask this question and then continue with my second one.
When the Lobster Council of Canada appeared before us, they suggested a levy—a tax and licensing fee—for lobsters. They talked about having submitted a request for it to DFO.
Is this possible? When you were asked originally about the Lobster Council's being able to initiate a levy, you seemed to say that you hadn't really thought about the possibilities. I'm a bit concerned, because certainly this is something the Lobster Council said they have been pursuing for some time.
Let me leave that question with you, and let me make this point. On the whole question of dealing with the industry, dealing with harvesters and so on, Mr. Burns, you said on a couple of occasions that you are always willing to listen to the industry, whether it be on carapace size or on other measures that can be taken to improve the business model.
I have to say a couple of things. One is that the department wasn't particularly responsive last year. It was an historic fact that the industry as a whole came together and all asked for the same thing: a year for transition in the move to download the cost for tagging and for licensing. They got the cold shoulder. That's point number one.
Number two, they continued to plead their case for an increase in carapace size, which not only is a conservation measure but also a question of improving their market size. As recently as a few weeks ago, with an Area 26B vote of more than 90%, you turned them down.
When you say that you are open to their coming forward, I'm concerned that you be serious about it. What is it going to take, on the economic side and in terms of the downloading of costs? It was a unified position; in terms of one LFA there was a huge majority that supported a particular position. What is it going to take to get an increase in carapace size or to get any of these measures that the industry is saying they want you to bring forward? They want some help.
This is a problem that exists in the Atlantic provinces and in eastern Quebec. DFO needs to be a player in this. The industry would like to see you be more involved, not just on the conservation side but in actually working with the industry to find some solutions to these problems. Your silence is deafening, when it comes to the current situation surrounding price.
So there are two issues. One is on the levy, with the Lobster Council of Canada, and on the fact that Agriculture Canada is nowhere on this; the second is about how serious you are about coming up with some solutions, hand in hand with the industry.