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MEDIA RELEASE: DFO Pushes Forward with Crab Science Despite Industry Objections

February 26, 2019

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Inshore snow crab harvesters are deeply disappointed in today’s stock assessment briefing for snow crab where the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) included an incomplete, proposed precautionary approach (PA) limit in the stock assessment.

“The precautionary approach framework is a proposal only, and yet it’s had significant bearing on the discussions for the snow crab assessment. Even though DFO had assured harvesters there will be no impact on management decisions for 2019, it’s disappointing to see the proposed PA inserted into the assessment,” said Calvin Young, crab committee chair for 3Ps.

While DFO Resource Management has assured FFAW-Unifor that the incomplete PA will not be considered in management decisions for the 2019 snow crab fishery, including it in this year’s assessment underscores DFO’s lack of respect for fish harvesters and their contributions to fisheries science.

“We’ve been very clear throughout this process that harvesters need to be engaged from the start as partners in order to exchange knowledge and truly build a sustainable snow crab fishery,” says Trevor Jones, crab committee chair for Green Bay.

FFAW-Unifor has repeatedly expressed concerns over DFO’s approach to raising issues at meetings simply to tick a box for consultation without engaging in vigorous discussion over important issues. The Union is committed to participating in DFO’s working group for the Limit Reference Point and has committed to ensuring harvesters voices are not ignored when it comes to both science and management decisions.

“Fish harvesters in our province support a sustainable fishery and sound science-based fisheries management, but DFO has ignored unanimous industry disapproval of including the proposed precautionary approach in this year’s stock assessment update,” says Tony Doyle, Vice-President of FFAW-Unifor and crab committee chair for Conception Bay.

FFAW-Unifor staff and scientists will be holding consultations with all fleet committees around the province before the start of the spring fishery in order bring harvester input to the table at DFO’s working group for the precautionary approach framework.

“We are confident that if DFO commits to working with harvesters as valued contributors to knowledge about the snow crab stock, we will be able to find common ground and move forward with a new PA framework,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer David Decker.


For media inquiries:

Courtney Glode
FFAW-Unifor Communications