ATLANTIC CANADA – A group representing Indigenous shrimp harvesters as well as shrimp harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and New Brunswick are calling on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to set a total allowable catch (TAC) for the 2022 gulf shrimp fishery. This coalition, which represents approximately 100 shrimp enterprises employing over 500 harvesters and thousands of plant workers in Atlantic Canada, says there is no excuse for interim quotas set by Minister Joyce Murray and the delayed decision is a financial threat to their sustainability, and in many cases, their business’s survival.
“By setting interim quotas and delaying a complete TAC, the Minister is preventing shrimp harvesters from assessing the feasibility of their businesses. The northern shrimp fishery has already taken immense cuts in the last decade, and the enterprises that have survived must be given the opportunity to properly assess whether this year’s quota will make it worthwhile to go fishing or stay tied up,” says Jean Lanteigne, Director General of Fédération régionale acadienne des pêcheurs professionnels (FRAPP), who represents New Brunswick shrimp harvesters on the coalition.
The Gulf Shrimp Advisory was held all the way back on February 3rd –over two months after which no new information will be provided to the Minister to base the decision on.
“The Minister has all of the information already available to her to make a decision. There’s no rationale for an interim quota being set when the advisory was held back in February. For us, justice delayed is justice denied,” says Rendell Genge, a NL shrimp harvester from Anchor Point.
By delaying this responsibility, the Minister is not only threatening the sustainability of shrimp enterprises, but also the processing plants who receive and process the product. Significant increases in fuel costs add to the financial stress business are experiencing, and important decisions must be made.
“Unlike many other fisheries, in most cases harvesters who fish gulf shrimp only have access to this gulf shrimp. All of their eggs are in this basket, and the Minister’s refusal to make a decision – whether that decision is good or bad – is hurting our coastal communities,” says Indigenous representative Guy-Pascal Weiner, Director of Commerical Fisheries for the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation.
The Coalition is asking the Minister to provide a final TAC for the gulf shrimp fishery no later than tomorrow, Friday, April 8th.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Guy-Pascal Weiner, Director of Commerical Fisheries for the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Courtney Glode, FFAW-Unifor Communications
Jean Lanteigne, Director General of Fédération régionale acadienne des pêcheurs professionnels (FRAPP)
Patrice Element, Advisor to mobile gear fishermen, Coopérative des Capitaines propriétaires de la Gaspésie