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DFO must speak directly with inshore fishermen, FISH-NL says

FISH-NL reached its GoFundMe goal to raise $16,000 after five days Wednesday afternoon. FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said the breakaway group continues to receive support from around the province.
FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary is shown in a file photo. - SaltWire Network

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to continue to hold direct consultations with inshore harvesters over outstanding fishery issues.

“DFO is to be commended for holding outreach meetings last winter for the first time in a generation,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The precedent has been set, and the department must hold them every year to keep its finger on the pulse of inshore harvesters.”

A FISH-NL news release notes DFO held a series of 20 meetings around the province last fall and early winter to hear directly from inshore fish harvesters.

Cleary said the consultations were called following years of complaints that the Fish, Food and Allied Workers’ union (FFAW-Unifor) is no longer the voice of inshore harvesters. He said that issue was the most common theme during last year’s consultations.

Cleary added that DFO officials had said a report from the last round of consultations was expected to be released that included the concerns expressed by inshore harvesters. That report has still not appeared, he said.

Cleary said the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans released a report in June on fishing length and licensing policies, with five of the eight recommendations calling on DFO’s Newfoundland and Labrador region to hold more direct consultations with harvesters/enterprise owners.

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