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Muclair fisheries commitment brings hope to NL

June 8, 2015

Last Thursday in Corner Brook, nearly a hundred fish harvesters, concerned citizens and political leaders gathered to stand up for fair fisheries management.

Speakers at the event included FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan, FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer David Decker, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Vaughn Granter, Corner Brook Mayor Charles Pender, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour President Mary Shortall, Liberal MP Gerry Bryne, and Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce.

One speech in particular brought considerable hope to the rally attendees, as well as to thousands of others who could not be there in person. NDP MHA and fisheries critic Lorraine Michael read a statement from federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

The statement read:

Whether it’s shrimp, cod or halibut, the Harper Government has been playing way too much politics with fish.

They’re using the power of the Minister to allocate fish for partisan political gain in exactly the same way they’re using financial resources for advertising for partisan political gain.

Fish should be considered the legacy of the adjacent coastal people, not political currency for the Minister.

An NDP Government would eliminate the LIFO policy and re-establish fair sharing in the shrimp fishery so that everybody shares fairly in ups and downs in the resource.

In all species, we would respect the resource access pillars of adjacency and historic dependency. Under an NDP government, fish would not be shopped around for political purposes.

“This is the first real commitment the people of this province have had in regards to fisheries management for the upcoming federal election. This promise means a lot to our members and to the people of this province. We look forward to hearing from the other parties on this issue, as well as on other policy issues that are important for our members,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

The rally in Corner Brook brought further attention to federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister and Conservative MP Gail Shea, who has repeatedly subjected the people of our province to unfair fisheries management policies in favour of corporate profits and saving votes in conservative districts.

In the last year alone, the federal conservative government cut the owner-operator inshore shrimp quota by 26 per cent while cutting the corporate-owned offshore quota by only 5 per cent. Just last month, Gail Shea broke the halibut stable sharing agreement to increase PEI quota by 87 per cent while increasing NL quota by only 9 per cent. Securing votes in the Maritime Provinces and increasing corporate profit is clearly more important than adhering to the longstanding principle of adjacency.

Our province was built off of the fishing industry. The volatility of oil has shown the importance of the renewable resources in the waters off our coast. If managed based on principles of historic dependence and who lives alongside the resource, the industry has the ability to allow our coastal communities to thrive.

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