Feds agree to review how northern shrimp is allocated

Colin MacLean
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Score one tentative victory for shrimp harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The province and the federal government jointly announced Tuesday evening there will be a review of how Northern shrimp are allocated in time for the 2012 season.

The move comes only a week after the province’s shrimp fishery suffered significant cuts to its quota, inshore shrimp allocation was reduced by 14.62 per cent and the offshore was down 4.62 per cent.

In light of these cuts and the general direction the quotas have been heading, the province considers a review a win, Fisheries Minister Clyde Jackman said Tuesday.

“If we continue with the reductions that we’re having we could see the decimation of on land processing. Just imagine what something like that would do to the Northern Peninsula, as an example,” said Jackman.

Details regarding the review were sketchy as of Tuesday and Jackman acknowledged many of the specifics still had to be worked out. But he stressed that as long as Newfoundland and Labrador presents a strong case to whomever heads the review then there is a good chance the end result will favour this province.

“We are convinced that anyone who heads this up with a logical mind and a bit of common sense will see our case that we’re putting forward is the right one. At the end of the day we certainly hope that we’ll come out with a favourable decision of how the shrimp is allocated,” Jackman said.

He also called on everyone with a stake in the shrimp industry — including unions, processors, government and so on — to work together to present their case when the time comes.

Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union, met the news with a mixture of relief and skepticism.

“It’s something that we’ve been clamouring for,” he said. “We’ll be interested in getting the details as to the nature of the review.”

McCurdy has been increasingly vocal on the need for a review of how quotas are allocated, but has advocated for an independent body to do the work.

However, early indications are that it will be the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans that will be reviewing its own practices.

McCurdy said the process needs a “new set of eyes” so as to be as fair as possible.

cmaclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • marine man
    June 22, 2011 - 09:36

    It goes to show that the inshore fleet will get what ever they want or they will have big protest and cry to whom ever will listen. When the inshore was given this quoto they were told if any sign of trouble in the stock they were out. Last in first out and they agreed. Does anyone realize that 90% of the people in the offshore fleet are also from Newfoundland and Labrador and a cut to the offshore fleet will effect our jobs. Maybe we should start making up our own signs and protest. The inshore fleet has done nothing only flood the market with the poorest of quality shrimp driveing down the prices and hurting the stock. We have been fishing shrimp for 30 years and there has never been an issue with the stock until the small boats started fishing in area 6 during a time when we always left it alone. This is the first time in many years that we have seen an increase in the price of shrimp (which we never complained about in the past unlike the rest) and now it will start to fall due to the garbage that will be landed by the small boat fisherman and the low catch rates. Stop complaining!!! Its called fishing, you take the good with the bad...... Last in first out!!!

    • Mike
      June 22, 2011 - 13:02

      The last in, first out principle has been used before, most noteably when northern cod quotas were being reduced. The first cutbacks went to special licence holders , then the offshore then , lastly, the inshore. In the northern shrimp industry the offshore is the traditional participant; the inshore became involved relatively recently . ..so lets be consistent here. It also needs to be explained to the public that the vast majority of the offshore fishermen are from NL , work year-round and are non-unionized which should not be held against them . Thank you for the opportunity to provide some facts.