Shrimpers reject Area 6 quota cuts

Adam Randell
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Northern Peninsula inshore shrimp fishermen were bracing for massive cuts to this year’s quota, as of The Northern Pen’s deadline.

Approximately 40 fishermen and interested parties met with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers in St. Anthony on Thursday. It was part of a series of meetings to inform Northern Peninsula fishermen that massive cuts are coming to Area 6 shrimp quotas.

Members of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) were making their rounds last week, including stops in Port Au Choix, Anchor Point and St. Anthony, to inform fishermen that shrimp Area 6 will see a significant reduction this year because Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) research suggests the biomass for the species is down.

Stock declining

Anchor Point shrimper Rene Genge said word has come down that the biomass for the stock has dropped 27 per cent.

The FFAW told the group the 118,000-tonne quote from last year could be slashed by about 20,000 tonnes.

Under the first in, last out policy, inshore fishermen will have to shoulder 90 per cent of the overall cut, meaning significant reductions in individual quotas.

According to Genge, 3K, 4R and 2J inshore fishermen will have to absorb 40 per cent of the cuts.

Fishermen were left shocked, suggesting protest as a course of action. Others wanted to lobby for the removal of imaginary boundary lines so they could fish in other areas, and everyone agreed that because offshore and inshore fish the same species, both groups should equally share the pain.

“This cut will put us completely out of the fishery, while the offshore will have just as much as ever,” said Genge. “In order for us to survive in this industry the (first in, last out) principle has got to go and we need a reasonable cut of the northern shrimp.”

Out of business

He said an impact like this is going to drive a lot of fishermen out of the industry.

“People have got million-dollar boats to pay for, and with cuts like this coming down they aren’t going to be able to make those payments,” he said. “It’s less shrimp going into the four plants on the Northern Peninsula, which means less work for their employees.

“Just try and imagine the Northern Peninsula without those four shrimp plants and boats.”

Genge is pleading with mayors, communities, area politicians and the provincial government to lobby for change on their behalf.

“Because if no one steps in to help us out, they’re going to have an awful mess on their hands.”

The Northern Pen

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Allied Workers

Geographic location: Port Au Choix, Anchor Point, St. Anthony Northern Peninsula

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