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Unfair Sharing Arrangement for Atlantic Halibut Shortchanges 3Ps Harvesters

March 7, 2019

Leading up to the federal election in 2015, federal Liberal party committed to reviewing sharing arrangements and ensuring “access, allocation and sharing arrangement decisions more open, transparent, stable and predictable.” Four years later and four consecutive increases to the 3Ps Atlantic Halibut quota, the Trudeau Government has failed to live up to that promise.

The Atlantic halibut stock on the south coast has shown a dramatic increase in the past decade, but an unfair sharing arrangement has left inshore harvesters with little benefits. Yesterday afternoon the Scotia Fundy Groundfish Advisory Committee announced Total Allowable Catches (TAC) for the upcoming fishing season with no change in the current sharing arrangement.

The stock, known as the 3NOPs4VW+5 Atlantic halibut stock, is shared between the Maritimes and Newfoundland as well as further being broken up between inshore and corporate offshore fleets. Despite being adjacent to the resource, 3Ps inshore harvesters currently have access to a mere 2.5% of overall TAC despite historic catch rates averaging closer to 6%.

For 2019, DFO announced a 15% increase to the overall allocation for a total of 4789t for the 3NOPs4VW+5 region. Of that 113t is allocated to approximately 700 enterprises in 3Ps. 185t are allocated to the halibut longline survey, of which under 20t will be harvested by 3Ps and 3N0 harvesters.

For several years FFAW-Unifor has lobbied for increased access for the 3Ps inshore fleets. A number of years ago when the stock and TAC began to dramatically increase, FFAW proposed that inshore harvesters in 3Ps see fairer benefits from any additional increases to the TAC. The sharing arrangement is unfair to harvesters on the south coast and DFO must revaluate shares to ensure inshore harvesters in 3Ps see more benefits from the Atlantic halibut stock. This continues to be the position of the FFAW and we will continue to lobby for a more equitable share for our members.