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Fish Harvesters Submit Bid to Protect Fishing Grounds

November 4, 2019

Fish Harvesters Submit Bid to Protect Fishing Grounds

November 4, 2019

Fish harvesters impacted by the expansion of oil and gas on a valuable fishing area delivered a bid to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) today, in a final attempt to protect their crab grounds. The deadline for oil and gas companies to submit bids on the land parcels is November 6.

“Fish harvesters have exhausted all options in our efforts to have these particular fishing grounds removed from the bidding process,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan. “While harvesters acknowledge that eligibility requirements prevent them from submitting a proper bid to the C-NLOPB, today’s actions are meant to draw attention to a flawed process that pits one industry against the other and puts harvesters’ livelihoods at risk.”

Earlier this year, the C-NLOPB announced a call for bids for parcels of land in the Jeanne d’Arc region, better known as the Grand Banks. The parcels currently up for bids are located on prime crab fishing grounds. Harvesters are understandably frustrated because this bid process could give an international oil company the exclusive rights to explore for oil and gas directly on critical crab habitat and their most productive fishing grounds.

The fishery contributes $1.5 billion to the provincial economy and keeps hundreds of rural communities thriving, while oil and gas drilling, seismic activity and exclusionary zones push fish harvesters further away from their traditional fishing areas. These recently announced areas up for bids could take millions of dollars in revenue away from the crab fishery and away from the rural communities who need it most.

“Time after time, the provincial government has prioritized the oil and gas industry over the fishery. These crab fishing grounds are crucial to the viability of our enterprises and we refuse to be ignored and pushed aside once again,” says FFAW-Unifor Executive Board member and Port de Grave harvester Nelson Bussey.

“Around the world, governments are acknowledging the need to protect and invest in sustainable, renewable industries like the fishery. Unfortunately, it seems that the opposite is true in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said FFAW-Unifor Inshore Council member and St. John’s harvester Glen Winslow.

“The C-NLOPB, Premier Ball and Minister Coady still have the opportunity to do the right thing to protect these prime crab fishing grounds by not accepting any bids in these critical areas. The fishery was around long before the oil industry in our province and it will be here long after, but only if our provincial government makes it a priority,” concludes Sullivan.


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