FISH-NL pleased with DFO measures to help harvesters impacted by severe ice; still no word on ice compensation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7th, 2017

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with measures announced today by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to help fish harvesters impacted by severe ice conditions off Newfoundland’s northeast coast.

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“DFO has recognized the severe and extenuating ice conditions off the northeast coast and is to be commended for moving to help harvesters,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. 

“That said, Ottawa still hasn't said a word about ice compensation when families and communities have been suffering for weeks. The federal government should be ashamed for dragging its feet.”

In response to severe ice conditions, DFO announced today a 15-day extension to the snow crab fishery in fishing zone 3K off the Great Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador. That fishery will now close July 15th, although the department will keep a close eye on soft-shell and implement grid closures “as appropriate.”

Ice conditions in some areas of the northeast coast have been so severe that some harvesters have been unable to leave port at all this year. Those harvesters fear the crab fishery will be shut down soon because of soft shell, and have asked the federal government to allow them to temporarily lease other fishing boats that aren’t penned in by ice to catch their quotas.

While harvesters in provinces like Nova Scotia can temporarily lease a fishing vessel for 30 days, the minimum lease in Newfoundland and Labrador is one year.

DFO also announced today that the department will review lease requests “that would normally not be approved, giving consideration to the ice conditions that may have impacted sailing, with a view to potentially offer short-term leases while the ice conditions continue.”

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