Federal government hasn’t budged on LIFO, quota
While the provincial government is backing shrimp fishermen, the federal government remains firm on its latest quota decisions.
A spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada declined an interview request amid protests at DFO offices in Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor and St. John’s last week.
Fishermen and plant workers demonstrate at the DFO headquarters in Pleasantville Wednesday. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
An email response stated the department recognizes the potential impact of declining stocks and total allowable catch reductions for harvesters and their communities. The department is committed to taking action that will protect the Northern shrimp fishery for current and future generations, it stated.
“DFO’s responsibility is to manage fish stocks in a sustainable and effective manner in order to preserve and protect them for future generations,” the email stated. “Fisheries management decisions are complex and take into account a number of considerations including science, conservation, and input from Aboriginal groups, other levels of government and stakeholders.”
The statistics show the fishable shrimp population in fishing areas 4, 5, and 6 are declining over the last year. While areas 4 and 5 remain healthy, Area 6 is moving into the “cautious zone of the precautionary approach framework,” according to the department. The email continued that changes to the ecosystem appears to be unfavourable for shellfish.
“The department consulted with industry, on this decision and moving forward, the department will continue to discuss with industry how best to manage and adapt to changing environmental conditions,” it stated.
Fishermen protested the decline in shrimp quotas and the last in, first out (LIFO) policy.
Meanwhile, as part of the province’s response to the decision in relation to quota allocations for northern shrimp that will unfairly impact the province’s inshore fleet, an all-party committee will be formed to ensure a strong, unified voice when advocating to the federal government for change.
Premier Tom Marshall directed Thursday that an all-party committee be formed, which will engage all three of the province’s political parties on the issue.
“The provincial government has been strongly against the federal government’s ‘Last In, First Out’ policy since 2010, as this policy forces inshore harvesters who became the newest entrants in the shrimp fishery in the 1990s to bear the brunt of quota cuts that are necessary to protect the stock,” Marshall stated in a news release.
“As this issue has serious implications for communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, it is important that all members of the provincial legislature join with industry stakeholders, the business community, and municipal leaders to seek a better outcome, and so I am very pleased to welcome the support of all parties in the House of Assembly.”
Both opposition parties were invited to participate, according to the release.
Additional details regarding the initial meeting, structure and make-up of the committee will be released later.
The shrimp sector comprised more than 30 per cent of the landed value of the provincial fishery last year, according to Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Hutchings. He stated the need for a fairly shared quota between offshore and inshore fleets.
“I am pleased to see opposition parties joining with the provincial government in our advocacy, as this issue is too important to be politicized,” stated Hutchings.
Marshall has also written the federal government and asked that quota allocations based on the LIFO policy be rescinded.
The Western Star