This week, your Union received news of a special allocation of sea cucumber in 3Ps that will go to companies – specifically a partnership of the Fogo Island Co-op and Miawpukek First Nation of Conne River. While the announcement has not been made official we have good reason to believe it is imminent.
Make no mistake – your Union has made it clear to the Minister that this decision is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We have sent a letter to Minister Wilkinson today to request an urgent meeting and that the decision be reconsidered.
By providing a special allocation to companies, this government is knowingly contradicting the owner-operator and fleet separation policies that are integral to protecting the inshore fishery.
New amendments brought into the Fisheries Act by the Trudeau Government aim to protect the independence of inshore fishery license holders. If the amendments are adopted as proposed, the new Fisheries Act will allow the Minister to make fisheries decisions with a consideration for the “preservation or promotion of the independence of license holders in commercial inshore fisheries.” This is precisely why we this decision must be reversed to promote and protect the inshore fleet in 3Ps.
Fish harvesters in 3Ps are facing economic conditions that rival the cod moratorium. In fact, it would be fair to say the situation is even worse due to the amount of investment and debt in the fishery in this region of Newfoundland and Labrador. The decline of a large variety of commercially valuable fish resources has been highlighted by FFAW-Unifor the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans on countless occasions. Newly available sea cucumber permits are providing harvesters in the area with a small opportunity for economic relief in the midst of a crisis. Taking 1000 tons of that resource out of the hands who need it most is unacceptable.
Your Union will not stand by while decisions such as these threaten the integrity and economic future of the inshore fishery. We will provide an update when available.