Cuts by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to the shrimp quota for inshore harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador were the subject of pointed criticism over the weekend.
While there was no evidence of a public announcement on the issue from DFO, a spokesman for the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture said the province understands that cut for the inshore fleet will amount to a nine per cent quota reduction — from 118,000 metric tonnes in 2013 to 108,000 for this year.
Last month, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union informed members on the Northern Peninsula it was bracing for significant cuts given DFO research suggested the biomass for shrimp was down.
The last in, first out (LIFO) policy will require inshore harvesters to shoulder most of the cut — the offshore sector’s allocation cut is expected to total approximately 900 metric tonnes.
In a news release issued Saturday, Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings called DFO’s quota allocations inequitable and unbalanced.
“Inshore harvesters are full stakeholders in the shrimp sector,” he said in the release. “They have made major investments in their operations and they have made significant contributions to the success of the provincial fishing industry, and so it is unfair to deny them access to the resource on the basis that they were the newest entrants to this fishery more than 20 years ago.”
- Read more special articles:
- Trace your plate
- FFAW’s stance on shrimp allocations criticized
- Premier meets with FFAW about northern shrimp
- FFAW members stage demonstration in St. John's
Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Bill Barry criticized the federal government’s handling of the last in, first out policy in his own news release issued Saturday.
“DFO ministers made no mention of adopting this ‘Last In, First Out’ (LIFO) strategy that would decimate the inshore sector while at the same time leave the offshore sector with significantly higher quotas than when the quota was opened to the inshore fleet,” said Barry, a major player in the province’s fishing industry through his Barry Group of Companies. “In fact, by my interpretation, DFO’s definition of ‘first in’ is wrong. The inshore fleet was in first, since they’ve been fishing the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador for more than 500 years."
In its release, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture said government expects to meet with industry leaders in the coming ways to discuss ways to best address the situation.