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Federal government promises to strengthen inshore fleets in Atlantic Canada

July 27, 2015

On Friday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced plans to enforce the policy on Preserving the Independence of the Inshore Fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Fisheries (PIIFCAF).

PIIFCAF was implemented in 2007 to strengthen the Owner Operator and Fleet Separation policies, which were being threatened by the increase of controlling agreements. However, PIIFCAF has not been vigorously enforced and controlling agreements remain a significant concern.

“In a controlling agreement a third-party, often processing companies, maintain ultimate control of a fish license that is held in a harvester’s name. Controlling agreements increase corporate control of our fish resources and undermine the owner-operator and fleet separation principles the inshore fishery was built on. These agreements are illegal and their proliferation needs to be addressed,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

Sullivan added that, “Giving owner-operators priority access to fishing licenses and quotas is the best way to create jobs and generate economic benefits in coastal communities. Steps to enforce PIIFCAF will help to ensure inshore harvesters keep the value from fishing in their communities.”

President of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvester’s Federation, Christian Brun, said the Minister Shea’s decisive measures are good news for the inshore fleets throughout Atlantic Canada.

“Fishermen have been calling for something like this for years. They want fishing licences kept in the hands of the people who actually fish and they want to see the existing rules firmly enforced. Minister Shea has taken an extremely important step to make this happen. This will be very positive for fisheries conservation, for the future of fishing families and the economic well-being of our fishing communities and especially good news for young people interested in getting into the Atlantic fishery,” Brun said.

The new measures announced today come into effect in this year’s fishing season.

Click here for the full media release from DFO.

For media inquiries, please call Courtney Pelley, FFAW-Unifor Communications, at 709-743-4445.