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Update on 3L Inshore Snow Crab

March 21, 2023

The 3L Inshore Snow Crab fleet is facing significant challenges with DFO’s Precautionary Approach framework process. In fact, despite over a hundred hours of volunteer and staff work dedicated to a collaborative working group process, wording that offered key protections for the 3L Inshore fleet were removed by DFO between the 12th draft version and final version sent last Friday, March 17, 2023.

The text in question that was advocated by the FFAW participants in the Working Group but was not included in the final version:

In the interim, should PA indicators in 3L inshore remain Healthy, overall exploitation rates for this AD may exceed the ERI guidance.

“This change was made without appropriately alerting key stakeholders, despite DFO’s full knowledge of the significance of this section, and the weight of its elimination. This glaring omission has blindsided fish harvesters, not just those in 3L inshore who are directly affected,” says Greg Pretty, FFAW-Unifor President.

“The wording in this one section may seem insignificant, but this component was the result of intensive work as part of the collaborative PA Working Group Process,” says Jason Spingle, FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer.

We were successful in arranging a meeting with Labour Minister and NL-MP, Seamus O’Regan, last night along with the 3L Inshore chairs, committee members and representative harvesters. Minister O’Regan outlined his understanding of the issue and has committed to working with DFO and providing us with an update later this week. Greg Pretty and Jason Spingle also met with senior DFO managers here in St. John’s this morning and reiterated the concerns to those in that area. These officials requested time to assess the situation, but our Union has made sure they understand the urgency of this issue.

Recently, professional fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador have struggled with DFO at every turn and in every important commercial species. But this transgression is especially appalling given the guise of collaborative effort, and the vast amount of resources that went into the working group process by FFAW staff, harvesters and DFO.

“We’ve had many protests regarding unfair quota allocations over the years and most often you are fighting for next year. While there are never any guarantees, in this case given the strong evidence outlined I’m very hopeful that appropriate corrections will be implemented for the 3L Inshore harvesters for this fishing season,” concludes Spingle.