COW HEAD A group of fishermen attended a funding announcement in Cow Head Friday but that announcement was the last thing on their minds.
The group was in town to protest the recently slashed halibut quotas to federal minister Peter Van Loan, who was in town to announce funding for two war memorials in Cow head and La Scie.
Daniel’s Harbour fisherman John Biggin said the group wants the halibut quota that was in place several years ago. Currently the quota is set at about 24 per cent after recently being changed from approximately 48 per cent. He said EI changes recently announced by the federal government were also on the group’s list of complaints, as well as different species of fish.
“They’re trying to take EI from us but if they want to let us fish halibut and turbot we shouldn’t have to worry about (collecting) EI,” he said. “But we’re not allowed to fish and they don’t want to give us EI.”
He said the government changed the turbot quota to 18 per cent, and in the last five years the cod quota has gone from 7,000 metric tons to approximately 1,500.
Biggin said the minister was actually very receptive to the group’s concerns.
“He had no problems, he came right over and introduced himself and said he didn’t know too much about the fishery,” said Biggin. “But he said he would bring it back to Ottawa, so he was willing to listen and I think he might be willing to help us out.”
Van Loan was also in Gros Morne Park earlier that same day announcing funding for five separate projects in the national park.