“Over a period of time, you saw that the fish wasn’t there, they used to schedule shutdowns for the summer, and things like that,” he said. “Probably a couple of weeks the first year, a month the next year, then a couple of months. Then you could see where it was coming to a point where there were going to have to be some drastic changes made.”
Empty Nets: 25 years later
Still on the go
"There's a generation gone that never touched a codfish"
The unlikely fisher
When the cod moratorium was announced by federal fisheries minister John Crosbie on July 2, 1992, at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s, members of the local union were watching from the Seaport Inn in Port Union.
While they watched as incensed fish harvesters tried to break down the door of the room where Crosbie was making the announcement, Johnson says the sentiment at the Seaport was less anger and more frustration and worry.
He says they thought about the 70 to 80 people who didn’t have enough hours to qualify for employment insurance and what they would do.
Johnson says, thankfully, the workers were able to get through that first year with an income, but the anger started to grow when what he called an “inadequate” compensation package was announced.