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NL Harvesters Say Thanks For Nothing, Bait Fishery Slap in the Face to License Holders

April 25, 2024

This morning, the federal government announced a bait fishery for Atlantic mackerel in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. A bait fishery for mackerel will do nothing for harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, and harvesters are demanding a modest directed commercial quota for the province.

“Newfoundland and Labrador has a history of a fully monitored directed fishery that provided top quality product in a traditionally fall fishery. FFAW-Unifor’s proposal for a directed fishery with temporal coverage would bridge the existing information gaps,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle. “Moreover, today’s release is not clear what portion Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters would receive and when,” Spingle says.

FFAW-Unifor proposed a modest quota of 10,000t for a directed commercial fishery for mackerel license holders in our province. Minister Lebouthillier did not respond to this proposal.

“The silence from the liberal MPs in our province is absolutely astounding,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “The federal government has abandoned our province, and more than that they’ve stripped away the livelihoods from those living in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,” Pretty says.

Concerningly, bait is not monitored in the same way commercial fisheries are and today’s announcement provided no clarification on how landings will be accurately recorded.

“Today’s announcement is certainly disappointing for commercial mackerel harvesters who were looking forward to regaining a small bit of access the important species. Unfortunately, the federal government has once again let down the people of Newfoundland and Labrador with their repeatedly misguided decisions,” Spingle concludes.