Politicians from all three parties will consult with people involved in the shrimp fishery before heading to Ottawa to push for changes on this year’s quota cuts.
After Liberal Leader Dwight Ball asked the government to form an all-party committee to deal with the issue, Premier Tom Marshall got the ball rolling, and on Wednesday, members of the three political parties spoke to the media to lay out their plan.
“It’s important for us to come together as all parties in the House of Assembly to make sure we put that common front to the people that are making the decisions,” Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said.
“We will do whatever we can to make sure that we send our message loud and clear.”
The federal government cut the shrimp quota by more than 10,000 tonnes this spring, and the overwhelming majority of that cut will fall on the inshore fleet.
Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings said that he’s been pressing the federal government to abandon its “last in, first out” (LIFO) policy which heavily favours larger offshore shrimp harvesters.
“The allocation is unfair. It’s not equitable and it has tremendous impacts on all parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, especially rural Newfoundland and Labrador and coastal communities,” Hutchings said. “We’ve been advocating for a number of years in regards to the LIFO policy.”
He said that since the cut was announced, he’s not been able to speak to federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, but after speaking to people affected in the province, the committee is planning to head to Ottawa to make a presentation to the House of Commons fisheries committee.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael applauded the government’s move to form a committee to tackle this.
“Everybody in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador stands behind the people in this province,” she said.
“We have to get this decision rescinded.”