April 28, 2022
Yesterday, DFO released the management plan for Northern Shrimp in Shrimp Fishing Areas (SFAs) 4, 5 and 6. Inshore shrimp harvesters and plant workers in Newfoundland and Labrador rely primarily on SFA 6, which remains nearly status quo with a 1% decrease from last year’s total allowable catch. With SFA 6 being categorized in the critical zone, the decision aligns with the current precautionary approach (PA) for the species.
However, FFAW-Unifor has been raising the alarm for several years on the Limit Reference Point (LRP) within with PA – which is set at a time when cod was at its lowest and ocean conditions were much different than present. The LRP must be reviewed to take into account the current ecosystem and the interconnected marine environment. As it stands, the current reference points are unrealistic and is contradictory to rebuilding plans for other species.
SFA 4 off the northern coast of Labrador received a 30% increase and inshore harvesters in Labrador should have been given access to this resource. SFAs 4 and 5 are adjacent to Labrador and 2J harvesters should be granted fair and reasonable access to this shrimp. 2J harvesters in Labrador have the skills, equipment, and ability to harvest shrimp adjacent to their shore given the abundance in this area. It’s a fact that onshore processing, as supplied by the inshore sector, provides significantly more added value to our economy as opposed to offshore factory freezers. Granting increased access to Labrador inshore harvesters is a critical component of long-term economic sustainability in the area.