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Crowd Fills Duckworth Street in Support of Inshore Fishery

March 21, 2019

Harvesters, plant workers and concerned citizens filled the streets of downtown St. John’s yesterday in a show of solidarity for our province’s inshore fishery. The event began at the Delta Hotel followed by a march down Duckworth Street finishing with a rally outside Seamus O’Regan’s St. John’s office. Harvesters and plant workers from around the province made the trip into St. John’s to send a strong message to federal politicians and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

“In fisheries science and in management, DFO has treated fish harvesters as an afterthought. As an inconvenience. As a box they have to check,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

Upwards of 800 packed into the Delta Hotel’s ballroom to stand up and speak out on the future of the industry.

“Today let’s stand together and fight to bring these issues to the forefront for a balanced fishery where all fisheries can exist together and we can make a decent living,” said Trevor Jones, Vice-Chair of the crab committee for 3K large/supplementary fleet, bringing the crowd to their feet in support.

Dwight Petten, Chair of the crab committee for 3L large/supplementary fleet, explained, “As professional fish harvesters, we support science and science-based management of our fisheries. But DFO shuts us out of the science process and makes management decisions without consulting us.”

Hundreds of plant workers came out in support, united with fish harvesters under a common goal for a sustainable inshore fishery.

“The one thing we all have in common today is survival. Survival of our fishers, survival of our plants, and survival of our communities. We’re not going to stand by and let DFO destroy our communities,” said Doretta Strickland, Vice-President of FFAW-Unifor’s Executive Board and plant worker at OCI Triton.

“Each time we come together at rallies like this I am reminded of the strength of our union and of the perseverance of fish harvesters, of plant workers, your families, your communities, and I know that this is another fight that we can win. And we will win it together!” Sullivan told the crowd.

Other speakers at the event include Alton Rumbolt (Mary’s Harbour), Kenny Viscount (Placentia), Nelson Bussey (Port de Grave), Eldred Woodford (Herring Neck) and NAPE President Jerry Earle.

Tomorrow, FFAW representatives will meet with Premier Dwight Ball to discuss the crisis facing the province’s fishery. In the coming weeks, the Union and committee representatives will continue to mobilize and pressure DFO and the federal government to take decisive action that supports the long term economic sustainability of the inshore fishery and the workers and their families who rely on it.

Live videos of the event are available on FFAW-Unifor’s Facebook page.