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South coast fishery in desperate need of solutions for stability and long-term sustainability

May 5, 2017

On April 28, 2017, FFAW held meetings with the leadership of the owner operator in Placentia Bay and the 3Ps supplementary fleet to discuss the significant resource and economic difficulties affecting harvesters in that region.

Fish harvesters in 3Ps on the south coast of the province are facing economic conditions that rival the cod moratorium. The severe decline of a large variety of commercially valuable fish resources in this area is unprecedented, necessitating action by the provincial and federal governments. Harvesters in 3Ps rely heavily on snow crab, a resource that has been in decline in recent years. Despite a significant increase in minimum prices, the 2017 fishery will provide little relief for these harvesters due to a 50 per cent cut to the quota in 3Ps.

“The precarious situation facing fish harvesters in 3Ps grows more difficult with each passing day. It is critical that we work together to find ways to offer some stability and long-term sustainability for fish harvesters in this area,” said FFAW-Unifor President, Keith Sullivan, who chaired the meeting with the 3Ps harvesters.

At the meeting a variety of short-term and long-term measures were discussed to ensure stable and sustainable futures for harvesters and their communities in the region. Discussion were held on increasing the number of sea cucumber licenses, securing a fair share of the abundant and valuable halibut stock, providing greater opportunities for the whelk fishery, and ensuring that the inshore has exclusive access to the 3Ps cod quota once that quota declines below 10,000mt.

The status of the Placentia Bay Enterprise Retirement proposal was discussed, and harvesters agreed that this proposal was essential for the Placentia Bay area. “Harvesting incomes have declined dramatically over the past two years,” Sullivan noted. “This is a crisis that requires immediate action from the federal government to begin the process of establishing a sustainable number of fishing enterprises.”

There are 597 snow crab licenses in 3Ps. Harvesters also fish cod, lobster, whelk, lumpfish and halibut. Including crew members, there are approximately 1500 harvesters in the region.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Courtney Glode
709-576-7276 / 709-743-4445