December 10, 2020 – The new Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation regulations enacted by the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, is a significant win for independent harvesters in NL.
“Controlling agreements have been one of the biggest threats to the inshore fishery, and today, we celebrate another step in taking back our fisheries and environment. FFAW has worked in collaboration with like-minded organizations in Canada for the past several years to see regulatory changes to be put in place that protect small-boat owner-operators. Ultimately, protecting the inshore fishery from being vertically integrated, and assert communities as the primary beneficiaries of our fishing resources,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan.
Sullivan notes that “In a province with a struggling economy and a difficult fiscal projection, selling off our public waters and rural resources to profit corporate enterprises are a financial and social miscalculation, and it is very rewarding for our members to have this recognized by way of these new regulations.”
While these regulations are constructive, the degree to which they are enforced will determine their effectiveness. Consideration needs to be given to the investment by government in enforcing these new regulations that make controlling agreements illegal, not just a policy. Further insight is needed into the repercussions for license holders found in violation of these new regulations, as well as impacts for third parties involved.
“These new regulations should also spur action at the provincial level. Processing companies are the driving force behind controlling agreements and the province has jurisdiction over the operation of these companies. The province needs to enact regulations that mirror the purpose of the federal regulations on controlling agreements so that processing companies can be held to account for decades of behavior that have undermined the sustainability of our coastal communities,” Sullivan concluded.
Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) represents approximately 15000 persons throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, most of whom are employed in the fishing industry.
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