ST. JOHN’S, NL – Yesterday, FFAW-Unifor leadership met with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic LeBlanc and Newfoundland and Labrador Members of Parliament to discuss the urgent issues facing the fishery in NL. Steve Crocker, the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources, also attended the meetings. Discussions focused on the drastic impact of cuts to the northern shrimp quota, declining crab stocks, the transition to groundfish, the mackerel fishery, and the economic crisis facing harvesters in Placentia Bay.
“Minister LeBlanc acknowledged the benefits the inshore fishery provides to coastal communities. He committed to reviewing the implications of recent quota cuts on the future of communities and to working with industry to mitigate the impact on harvesters and plant workers during the transition from shellfish to groundfish,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor). “Federal leadership will be critical in order to develop a fair, sustainable fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
During the meetings FFAW-Unifor representatives highlighted the impact that severe quota cuts, beyond what was recommended by industry, will have on those relying on the shrimp fishery. These cuts, combined with declining crab quotas, will affect thousands of fish harvesters and approximately 5000 plant workers in the province. Minister LeBlanc committed to reviewing how current policies affect FFAW-Unifor members, and demonstrated an understanding of the need for a smooth transition to a groundfish focused fishery.
FFAW-Unifor representatives also discussed the need to support harvesters in Placentia Bay who are facing economic crisis through an income improvement program and increased access to south coast halibut. Minister LeBlanc committed to working on solutions that will address the extreme situation harvesters in this region currently face.
“It’s clear that the federal government is committed to taking steps that will support vibrant and sustainable communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. The FFAW will continue to hold our federal officials to account on their commitments to our membership,” added Sullivan.
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