Minister Ignores Established Precautionary Approach for Shrimp – Slashes Quotas in Struggling Fishery | FFAW-Unifor | Fish Food & Allied Workers Union

Minister Ignores Established Precautionary Approach for Shrimp – Slashes Quotas in Struggling Fishery

Minister Ignores Established Precautionary Approach for Shrimp – Slashes Quotas in Struggling Fishery

April 21, 2022

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Minister Joyce Murray’s decision today to slash quotas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp fishery is a significant blow for harvesters and plant workers who have already experienced drastic cuts over the last number of years. A cut of nearly 20 per cent in Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 8 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is contrary to the recently established Precautionary Approach (PA), showing Minister Murray’s lack of commitment to collaborative fisheries management.

“The current PA was established in 2013 after extensive of consultations between scientists, managers and fish harvesters. Minister Murray’s decision today completely disregards the years of collaboration and hard work, unbothered by the decimated communities she leaves in her wake,” says FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.

Despite the stock being categorized in the healthy zone, DFO announced a 19 per cent reduction in SFA 8, 18 per cent reduction in SFA 9, 13 per cent reduction in SFA 12, with a very small increase to SFA 10. Under the PA, the maximum annual decrease should be 15 per cent. Newfoundland harvesters only have access to one fishing area, SFA 8, and have been hit the hardest by the Minister’s decision. Shrimp harvesters and processing plant workers have already been devastated by past cuts of more than 50 per cent in recent years and this decision rubs salt in the wound.

Unlike many other fisheries and areas of the province, most inshore harvesters who fish Gulf shrimp only have access to shrimp and cannot supplement with another fishery. Harvesters, plant workers and entire communities are concerned with the growth of redfish and the time for a transition is urgently needed. It has been cautioned by harvesters that reductions in quotas will only be additional shrimp for the redfish to feast on.

“The explosion of redfish in the Gulf is making it impossible for the overall size of the shrimp stock to improve. It’s one more reason that proves the Minister is disconnected from understanding the true picture and interconnectedness of our fisheries and the implications they have on each other. The 4R and inshore shrimp fleets in the Gulf need to be guaranteed a priority and majority share of the upcoming redfish quota, as continued reductions in shrimp carry the harsh reality of the eventual displacement of the shrimp fishery,” Sullivan explains.  “The future of our west coast and Northern Peninsula depends upon it as they are being squeezed out of what’s left of the shrimp fishery,” he says.

“The federal government must take a more holistic approach to managing and understanding our fisheries – and a critical part of that is giving fish harvesters and industry scientists a respected seat at the table. A transition plan must be implemented before it’s too late,” concludes Sullivan.

The full announcement from DFO can be found HERE.



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