© Cory Hurley
Shrimp fishermen, including Roland Genge (second from left), protested at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans office in Corner Brook Wednesday.
The provincial government is backing fishermen in its dispute with the federal government over shrimp quotas.
As part of the prvince’s response to the decision in relation to quota allocations for northern shrimp that will unfairly impact the province’s inshore fleet, an all-party committee will be formed to ensure a strong, unified voice when advocating to the federal government for necessary change.
Premier Tom Marshall directed Thursday that an all-party committee be formed, which will engage all three of the province’s political parties on this key issue.
“The provincial government has been strongly against the federal government’s ‘Last In, First Out’ policy since 2010, as this policy forces inshore harvesters who became the newest entrants in the shrimp fishery in the 1990s to bear the brunt of quota cuts that are necessary to protect the stock,” Marshall stated in a press release.
“As this issue has serious implications for communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, it is important that all members of the provincial legislature join with industry stakeholders, the business community, and municipal leaders to seek a better outcome, and so I am very pleased to welcome the support of all parties in the House of Assembly.”
Both Opposition parties were invited to participate, according to the release.
Additional details regarding the initial meeting, structure and make-up of the committee, and plans for moving forward with a united voice on behalf of inshore shrimp harvesters and plant workers, will be released later.
The shrimp sector comprised more than 30 per cent of the landed value of the provincial fishery last year, according to Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Hutchings. He stated the need for a fairly shared quota between offshore and inshore fleets.
“I am pleased to see opposition parties joining with the provincial government in our advocacy, as this issue is too important to be politicized,” stated Hutchings.
Premier Marshall has also written the federal government and asked that quota allocations based on the LIFO policy be rescinded.