CHARLOTTETOWN -- The P.E.I. government is telling Ottawa that if a long-standing moratorium is lifted on redfish harvesting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Island fishermen want a piece of the action.

Provincial Fisheries Minister Robert Henderson issued a statement Wednesday saying there's been a significant increase in redfish stocks in the Gulf after three years of strong population growth.

However, a fishing moratorium has been in place to protect the deep-water groundfish species since 1995.

Henderson says P.E.I. used to be a major player in the redfish industry, and the province wants to ensure its fishermen get their fair share if the fishery reopens.

The minister referred to "competing interests," but he did not single out any other provinces.

P.E.I. recorded its first redfish landings in 1959, and the industry supported 50 fishermen and 300 other employees on the Island by the early 1990s.