FFAW participated in several meetings with Senators and DFO staff in Ottawa this week as part of our continued campaign to promote changes to the Fisheries Act that will protect and promote independent, owner operator fish harvesters.
FFAW President Keith Sullivan and staffperson Jessica McCormick along with representatives of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation attended meetings with Senators Peter Harder, Elizabeth Marshall, Rene Cormier, Dan Christmas, Brian Francis, Bev Busson and Mike Duffy. Our lobbying efforts to move the legislation through the Senate paid off as Bill C-68 was referred to the Senate Fisheries Committee for study late Tuesday evening. FFAW and our allies in the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation will continue to meet with Senators and participate in Senate Fisheries Committee hearings in the new year as we work to enshrine owner operator and fleet separation in law.
In addition to meetings at the Senate, FFAW representatives also sat down with Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Catherine Blewett as well as various other DFO departmental staff to discuss Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. FFAW used this opportunity to once again raise the need for fish harvester input in science assessment processes and fisheries management decision making. DFO staff provided updates on the status of a recent Marine Protected Area report that highlighted FFAW’s concerns regarding oil and gas activity in marine refuges and fish harvesters’ concerns with consultation on potential MPAs.
Both the House of Commons and the Senate will adjourn this week for the holiday break. Members of Parliament and Senators are expected to return to Ottawa in late January.