Frank Coleman is concerned for the future of the northern shrimp fishery following news that quota allocations are being reduced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
Coleman, a candidate in the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador leadership race, committed in a press release to approach the federal government to seek changes to how quotas are allocated.
“If good science mandates a quota reduction for the health of the resource that is one thing, but I cannot support the Last In First Out (LIFO) principle used by DFO for allocating the reduced quotas,” stated Coleman in the release. “Both the inshore and offshore fleets are licensed and bona fide participants in this fishery. The reduced quota allocation is devastating, discriminatory and just wrong for one important segment of this fishery.”
He said the quota reductions have the potential to erode the inshore shrimp fishery leaving in its wake an uncertain future for the inshore fleet operators and thousands of plant workers.
Coleman said the DFO decision on shrimp allocations is favouring the offshore fleet, which has access to all seven shrimp fishing zones, whereas the majority of the inshore fleet accesses only two zones.
“I cannot understand how DFO seeks to protect the interests of one sector over another when operators in both sectors have permanent access,” said Coleman. “That is why I believe there should be a principle of fairness on shrimp allocation that would stabilize the northern shrimp fishery.”
The release said Coleman is lending his support to the provincial government and the Fisheries, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) on the issue.
“We need to work together to have a balanced approach to this issue,” he said. “This is a very important issue to Newfoundland and Labrador and I will reach out to the federal government to more fairly share the responsibility of conservation on one hand and the benefit of the shrimp fishery on the other.”
Meanwhile, Coleman was to talk about another issue important to the people of the west coast on Monday night — the new hospital for Corner Brook. He was to meet with the Western Region Hospital Action Committee at the Glynmill Inn.
And his campaign received another endorsement last week when it was announced that Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley was backing him.