MEDIA RELEASE: Fiona Leaves Wake of Devastation for Inshore Harvesters
September 26, 2022
Professional fish harvesters on the southwest coast of the province are left reeling after post-tropical storm Fiona made landfall in the area on Friday and Saturday. The damage left in Fiona’s wake has impacted multiple enterprises, leaving significant damage to gear, boats, motors, and sheds. FFAW-Unifor is seeking financial support from federal and provincial governments to assist these inshore harvesters in their rebuilding efforts.
“The damage from Fiona has been felt in particular by folks located between La Poile, through Port aux Basques and to Cape Ray. Some inshore harvesters have lost all their gear, motors, boats, and sheds – just washed away with the storm. As small-scale operators, they have no financial recourse through traditional insurance channels and we are therefore asking for financial relief from our federal and provincial governments,” explains FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer, Jason Spingle.
“Support following hurricanes and tropical storms has been provided to inshore harvesters in the past, and we expect that Fiona will be no different. These fish harvesters will require financial help to replace their lost investment in order to resume fishing next season,” Spingle says.
Harvesters in this region rely mainly on lobster and halibut as their primary, and in many cases, sole source of income. Rebuilding infrastructure and replacing lost gear and other equipment will be paramount to the region’s ability to rebound from Fiona’s destruction.
In the immediate-term, FFAW-Unifor is communicating with members on the ground to continue to assess the full impact of damage, and to ensure our members and their families have their basic needs met in the coming days and weeks. The Union will also be approving a donation to the Canadian Red Cross via the Executive Board as soon as possible to aid in on-the-ground relief efforts.
“Recovery on the southwest coast will certainly not happen overnight and we acknowledge that there is significant work to do. What our members need now is commitment from our elected officials that support will be given to the inshore harvesters that need it. Without that commitment, their livelihoods will be lost,” concludes Spingle.
For media inquiries, please email, call or text:
Courtney Glode (she/her)
***photos from Michael King @mikekingNL on Twitter, taken in Burnt Islands**