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Federal government must take immediate action to support fish harvesters on province’s south coast

May 17, 2016

St. John’s – Fish harvesters in 3Ps, on the province’s south coast, are calling on the federal government to take immediate action to address the severe economic challenges facing harvesters in the area. As a result of an unprecedented decline of fish resources in the area, harvesters are experiencing conditions that rival the cod moratorium.

“Through no fault of their own, harvesters in 3Ps are struggling to maintain an economically viable fishery,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor). “The federal government must step in because harvesters cannot address this crisis on their own.”

There are more than 700 harvesting licenses in 3Ps and most harvesters rely heavily on snow crab. The snow crab fishery in the region has experienced a serious decline in recent years with quotas falling from 6,467 MT in 2013 to 4,299 MT in 2015. So far in 2016, harvesters are reporting extremely poor catches.

Harvesters in this region have also depended on cod. However, in recent years they have grown concerned about the health of the stock. In 2010, harvesters caught 100 percent of their quota and despite the desperate need for income in 2015, only 42 percent was landed.

In addition to this, whelk availability has declined, going from a catch of 4,636 MT in 2012 (100% of quota) to 2,294 MT in 2015 (just 46% of the available quota).

“Both short and long-term measures are needed to ensure stable and sustainable futures for harvesters in 3Ps,” continued Sullivan. “Immediately implementing an EI extension for harvesters in addition to investing in an income improvement program will provide the support harvesters in the area desperately need.”

FFAW-Unifor has requested a meeting with the Honourable Judy Foote, Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity to discuss solutions to the urgent issues facing her constituents.


For media inquiries:
Jessica McCormick, Communications Officer
709-576-7276 (office)