The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union has neglected us, has taken advantage of us and has turned fisher folk against one another — brother against brother, sister against sister. It shouldn’t be like that. We can do better than that, and now we will. We have acquired Mr. Ryan Cleary to head up our new union, which will be named the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL).
This new union will look after the best interests of Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen and women — and only them.
This new union will have a constitution drawn up to protect fisher folk from the kind of things we had to put up with from the FFAW.
We want a union that will fight for fish quotas for its members and not for themselves.
We want a union that will fight to maintain shrimp quotas for the fishermen and women who live adjacent to the resource.
Shrimpers have lost too much shrimp to outsiders and foreigners. We want a bigger share of this shrimp for our inshore fishers.
We want a union that will fight for 4R-based fishers when it comes to turbot and crab in the Gulf — Quebec now seems to own most of it.
We want a union that will stand up to NAFO when it comes to quota sharing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish cap. As it stands now, foreigners get about 85 per cent and Canada gets about 15 per cent — isn’t that awful? If it were the other way around, every Newfoundland and Labrador fisher would have plenty of fish to support their enterprise.
All fishermen need a bigger share of the halibut quota in the Gulf. I think Quebec, New Brunswick and P.E.I. have the lion share of that, as well.
This sentinel fish quota must come back to the licensed inshore fisher.
We will fight to take back the 1.2 million pounds of crab that were allotted to the offshore fish harvesters’ association, and now has disappeared somewhere else. Where I wonder? We will see that quota gets back in the hands of Newfoundland and Labrador-based fishers.
We will fight for harvesters in the 3PS area for their right to the scallop beds on the St-Pierre Bank. It’s now controlled by the large processing companies, with a lot of foreign interest, I suspect. We have to see that these scallop quotas go back to inshore fishers.
Who knows what the FFAW will do with cod and redfish quotas when they’re handed out. I do not think it’s going to look good if the FFAW is responsible for sharing it up.
It’s make or break time for our fish harvesters. If we don’t get rid of the FFAW now we will be finished as successful harvesters.
The founding convention of FISH-NL is scheduled to take place on Oct 27 in Gander at the Albatross Hotel, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
We want every fish harvester to try and attend this meeting. Unfortunately, no hotel rooms are available in Gander at that time, but a block of rooms have been set aside at the Mount Peyton Hotel in Grand Falls-Windsor. There are also some people willing to tow their campers there for people to stay in. It would be great if we could get one person from each community or one person who could represent two or three small communities close together.
Now is the time, fisher people! Let’s make it happen!