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Fish Harvesters Call for Immediate Halt to New Oil and Gas Developments on Crab Fishing Grounds

September 5, 2019

Fish Harvesters Call for Immediate Halt to New Oil and Gas Developments on Crab Fishing Grounds

September 5, 2019

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Fish harvesters are calling for an immediate halt to new oil and gas developments that encroach on valuable crab fishing grounds. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) released a new call for nominations last week for two offshore oil and gas exploration areas. In addition to the parcels located on crab fishing grounds, a second area is situated within a marine refuge closed to all fishing activity. 

“Our members were not consulted on the exploration area that is now up for nominations. We have significant concerns surrounding how this will impact fish harvesters, particularly those that participate in the snow crab fishery. Fish harvesters, who have already given up considerable fishing grounds in the name of conservation, will now potentially give up more valuable crab grounds to oil and gas companies,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

Drilling, seismic activity and exclusionary zones push fish harvesters further and further out of their traditional fishing areas. These recently announced areas could take millions of dollars in revenue away from the crab fishery and away from the rural communities who need it most.

“Each year our industry is expected to adjust and adapt to the expansion of oil and gas, but there is very little consideration for the impacts it has on the fishing industry or the marine environment. That has to change,” says Nelson Bussey, FFAW-Unifor Executive Board member and crab harvester from Port de Grave.

The fishery contributes $1.5 billion to the provincial economy and keeps hundreds of rural communities thriving.

“This region is the most lucrative crab fishing area in 3L. It hasn’t seen any cuts in recent years compared to many other areas that have seen quota reductions, and we won’t allow it to be taken away from us,” says Glen Winslow, FFAW-Unifor Inshore Council member and Shea Heights crab harvester.

“What we need is for the government and the oil and gas industry to respect the fishery and the role we play in our province. We refuse to get out of the way, and we refuse to be ignored,” says Andrew Daley, St. Joseph’s fish harvester and chair for the 3L crab fleet.

FFAW-Unifor is calling for a joint meeting between fish harvesters, the Minister of Natural Resources, Siobhan Coady, and the C-NLOPB to outline the concerns of harvesters and ensure those concerns are heard and respected.

“With this recent announcement from the C-NLOPB, fish harvesters are once again being told to move out of the way. The oil industry is saying fish harvesters don’t matter; that their traditional fishing grounds don’t matter; that their communities don’t matter. We won’t stand for that,” concludes Sullivan.



For media inquiries, please contact Courtney Glode at or 709-743-4445