She came. They met. Nothing changed.
It was early April when federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea slashed shrimp quotas, and more than three months later, she arrived in St. John’s to meet with an all-party committee of politicians opposed to the cuts.
Shea wouldn’t speak to reporters Tuesday, but she issued an e-mailed statement to media shortly before the all-party committee was scheduled to talk.
The bottom line, according to Shea’s statement, is that the shrimp cuts aren’t getting reversed, and she’s not changing the controversial “last-in first-out” policy which dictates that the overwhelming brunt of the cuts will go to smaller inshore shrimp harvesters.
“In-shore fleet members have received 90% of all increases to the shrimp quota since 1998, in exchange for the understanding that they would receive the majority of reductions if the stock decreased. This is exactly what has happened,” the statement from Shea said. “Challenges in the fishing industry have been well-known for some time.”
When provincial Fisheries Minsiter Keith Hutchings emerged to speak to reporters, flanked by Liberal Leader Dwight Ball and NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, they acknowledged that despite months of lobbying, they don’t have anything to show for it yet.
At this point, Hutchings sounded more concerned about next year than anything else. He said that if there are even more cuts in the future, that will likely mean bankrupt fish harvesters and plant workers.
Shea also met with FFAW president Earle McCurdy Tuesday. Today, she’s scheduled to hold an event in Quidi Vidi.
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