The Snow Crab PA Working Group held its first meeting this week in St. John’s. FFAW-Unifor staff along with 11 fleet chairs were in attendance at the two-day meeting to voice their concerns over a Limit Reference Point that was developed without input from fish harvesters. Our Union maintained that the way to build a sustainable fishery – and a sustainable management plan robust to changes in markets, politics and the resource – is with science and fish harvesters working together.
Harvesters want a sustainable fishery to protect their enterprise, their futures and their communities. A rebuilding plan cannot be put in place without input from harvesters, whose livelihoods are tied to the management of the resource.
DFO went into this meeting with the intention of moving forward with a foundation based on science that had absolutely no input from fish harvesters. This is unacceptable. Our Union made it clear that DFO must go back to the drawing board when it comes to this new PA framework to ensure that harvester input is considered at all levels. Our members will not accept a plan that was written behind closed doors pushed forward with no consultation with the largest stakeholder.
Coming out of the meeting, FFAW-Unifor will be holding consultations with all fleet committees around the province before the start of the spring fishery with the intent to get harvester input on the development of a new sustainable fisheries management plan. Most importantly, this formula for the Limit Reference Point will not be used for determining quotas for the 2019 snow crab fishery. The process for setting quotas for this year will be the same as previous years.
Overall, fleet chairs that attended the meeting are pleased with the results and with DFO’s willingness to support the consultations with fleet committees in April. We will work with the committees to ensure we have a sustainable fishery for the long-term.