McCurdy blasts northern shrimp cuts

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The head of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union says cuts announced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to the inshore quota for northern shrimp amount to “skullduggery.”

Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers' union. — Telegram file photo

Meeting with reporters Monday at the FFAW’s office in St. John’s, president Earle McCurdy said DFO’s decision strongly favours the offshore sector, despite the fact harvesters with the inshore fleet have adjacency to the resource.

The inshore quota has dropped from 45,300 tonnes in 2013 to 33,876 this year — a decline of 26.2 per cent. By comparison, the offshore sector’s portion of the quota is down only 3.6 per cent compared to 2013 — from 66,224 tonnes to 63,789 in 2014.

The overall total allowable catch (TAC) for 2014 is 115,891 tonnes, down 13.1 per cent from 2013. McCurdy said the special allocation that makes up the remainder of the TAC for this year is mostly handled by the offshore sector.

In 2009, the inshore allocation exceeded the offshore one, but the ratio has favoured the offshore sector every year since according to data provided by the FFAW.

McCurdy noted that unlike the offshore sector, where product can be sent elsewhere without adding value to Newfoundland and Labrador, shrimp harvested inshore is processed in local plants. In light of the quota cut, he expects some of those plants will face hardships this year.

The FFAW is planning to organize a protest later this week.

For more on this story, read Tuesday’s edition of The Telegram or check back at www.thetelegram.com.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • Virginia Waters
    April 07, 2014 - 14:08

    There is a very simple explanation for this decision by the federal fisheries minister. It is the same explanation for the long history of abuse of the fishermen and plant workers of Newfoundland and Labrador at the hands of DFO and the Government of Canada. All of the inshore harvesters are resident in this province. By contrast, 60% of the companies that hold offshore licenses for northern shrimp in the waters adjacent to this province are from provinces other than Newfoundland and Labrador. Several are from Minister Gail Shea's home province of PEI. So if you're the federal minister of fisheries whose home province has a big stake in the game, who you gonna favour with your quota allocations? Having just 'marked' (notice there wasn't a lot of celebration going on) the 65th anniversary of our being beaten and dragged into a lop-sided confederation with Canada, you have to wonder how many more such beatings it will take before we look for a way out of this abusive relationship?