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.