3K fleet chairs met with senior DFO officials including Regional Director General Jaqueline Perry today to discuss concerns about the upcoming snow crab fishery.
The meeting follows a concerning proposal from DFO last week that suggested significant cuts for the 2019 fishery. DFO’s suggestion of a 30%-plus cut in 3K is extreme and inconsistent with what was outlined in the science stock assessment. The proposal threatens the economic sustainability of hundreds of inshore enterprises and highlights DFO’s lack of respect towards harvesters’ knowledge when it comes to fisheries science and management.
At today’s meeting, DFO assured fleet chairs that no final decisions have been made on management plans for the coming fishing season and the Department emphasized that they are interested in discussing options.
Committee chairs made it clear to DFO that the only option acceptable to harvesters is a status quo rollover.
“Overall we felt the meeting was positive. DFO seemed receptive to our concerns but at the end of the day they made no firm commitments,” said Trevor Jones, crab committee chair for Green Bay.
The Department must take a more holistic approach to fisheries management, taking into consideration the ecosystem transition and accompanying transition for inshore fish harvesters, plant workers and their communities.
“We have seen steady increases to our catch rates over the past number of years and no evidence to indicate further cuts need to be made to our quota. Our proposal for the status quo was very conservative even though the science assessment suggested some areas could even warrant an increase in quota,” says Glen Newbury, chair of 3C Snow Crab Committee.
A detailed update and plans for next steps will be presented to harvesters at a meeting on Wednesday, March 13 at 11:00 am at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls Windsor. All 3K snow crab harvesters are encouraged to attend.