Snow-crab cuts another body blow to fishery; special allocation with links to FFAW should be cut immediately: FISH-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, April 3rd, 2017 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the province’s fishing industry took yet another body blow today with news that the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans cut the overall snow crab quota by 22 per cent.

“Today’s news on snow crab, combined with last week’s almost 63 per cent cut to northern shrimp, spells disaster for the inshore fishery,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL.

“The very first cut in the total allowable catch (TAC) for snow crab on the tail of the Grand Banks in fishing zone 3N outside the 200-mile limit should be to the special interest allocation caught by the Katrina Charlene, the so-called ‘union boat,’ a quota whose origins are directly linked to the FFAW,” says Cleary. “First things first, the time has come for that conflict of interest to be acknowledged and the quota cancelled and added back to the allocations of independent harvesters.”

DFO announced Monday that the 2017 snow crab quota for the Newfoundland and Labrador region has been set at 35,419 tonnes — down from 43,802 tonnes in 2016.  

One of the hardest hit fishing zone is 3Ps off Newfoundland’s south coast that will see its snow crab quota cut by 50 per cent. Meantime, fishing zone 3L, east of the Avalon Peninsula, will see a 26 per cent quota cut this year, dropping to less than 25,000 tonnes. 

The Newfoundland company, Offshore Fish Resource Harvesters, was awarded a snow crab quota in 1996. The company had extremely close ties to the FFAW, and was potentially in a conflict of interest. The initial quota was 375 tonnes, but in recent years it’s reached as high as 500 tonnes. 

While northern shrimp and snow crab resources are on the decline, groundfish stocks such as northern cod are on the rebound, although the price of cod has been low, averaging 60 cents a pound last year. FISH-NL once again called on the provincial government to lift all restrictions and allow out-of-province buyers into the provincial marketplace for all species.

-30-