Today, FFAW members met with Avalon MP Ken McDonald to highlight issues important to harvesters, with a focus on challenges in 3PS. Firstly, the concern over the 3Ps cod resource and its importance to inshore harvesters was emphasized. FFAW members highlighted that offshore draggers targeting vulnerable aggregations of fish must stop immediately. McDonald and his government can still act to halt the offshore dragger fishery and ensure the stock remains sustainable. The offshore fleet did not fish 3Ps the last time the TAC was below 10,000 MT.
In 2015, the Liberal Party of Canada acknowledged that harvesters in 3Ps traditionally harvested over 6% of the halibut quota, yet the government is allocating less than 3% to harvesters. The stock is healthy and valuable and 3Ps harvesters need a fair share! It was stressed that a solution to this issue must be found.
It was acknowledged by Mr. McDonald that 3Ps has seen difficulties in recent years, with 50% declines in key species like crab and cod. Therefore, it is time to act on the FFAW proposal for investment in a program that would allow voluntary retirements while allowing remaining harvesters a viable enterprise. He acknowledged this would need to be a whole of government approach and committed to get back to the FFAW with updates.