FFAW asserts inshore harvesters in Western Newfoundland and Southern Labrador (4R) require priority access to the redfish quotas in adjacent waters. This growing resource will deliver incredible value to the local economy if harvested by the independent owner-operator fleet of inshore harvesters and processed by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in our communities.
There is currently an estimate of 2.5 million metric tons juvenile redfish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and this expected to result in a 5-6 million mt biomass in a few years.
An announcement made by Barry Group and Qualipu on July 7 regarding the building of a new processing plant should not impact the access that independent owner-operator fleet has to the valuable redfish resource.
Following this recent announcement by Barry Group and Qualipu, the FFAW would like to outline the following points on the importance of Gulf Redfish. First, in recent years, FFAW members have worked together as part the 4R Shrimp (Otter Trawl) Committee to focus on the value of redfish which included updates on all documentation from DFO Science and Management.
Furthermore, FFAW 4R Fleet Chair attended the winter 2017 bi-annual Gulf Groundfish Advisory Committee (GGAC), which also included attendance of a special meeting on redfish. The GGAC is the official forum for groundfish management and the FFAW made clear and firm representation that this resource be predominantly allocated to the independent inshore mobile owner-operator fleet (for our members the 4R3Pn Otter Trawl groundfish license holders). It is important to point out that, throughout the history of this fishery, every pound was processed in adjacent communities onshore.
Following this meeting, we began discussions with the committee to outline a plan to obtain the noted access (a permanent proportional share of the total allowable catch going forward). Then, following an initial conversation with Bill Barry where there was a mutual agreement on the points outlined above, we both requested a meeting with MP Gudie Hutchings which occurred in Corner Brook on July 4 and included Bill and Joe Barry, and 4R fleet chair Rendell Genge and mommittee member Gary Rumbolt.
Again, the points outlined above were reiterated by both parties. Following a request made by the MP, we immediately submitted a joint-proposal that was concluded with a request for a meeting with the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic Leblanc.
The FFAW has been clear: 4R independent owner-operator harvesters must receive primary consideration for allocations of Gulf Redfish.
The FFAW has followed up with the request to meet with MP Gudie Hutchings and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic Leblanc.