FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 14th, 2019
The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the conflicts of interest surrounding the FFAW-Unifor being awarded a redfish quota in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are outrageous and must be addressed.
“Not only is the FFAW in conflict with its own members in being granted an 800-tonne experimental redfish quota in the Gulf, and $700,000 to cover expenses, but the union also appears to be monitoring its own catches,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL.
“At what point will Ottawa and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans acknowledge the conflicts are beyond the pale?”
The FFAW-Unifor was awarded the 800-tonne experimental redfish quota last fall, and, more recently, $700,000 from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund to cover expenses. Fishermen like Oz Tucker of the Great Northern Peninsula, who himself was granted a 500-tonne experimental redfish quota in the Gulf, have complained the FFAW-Unifor is competing with its own membership.
While the FFAW doesn't hold any fishing licences — which was a condition of applying for the experimental redfish quota — a DFO official said the union’s membership includes Gulf-based harvesters with mobile gear groundfish licences. Indeed, the FFAW’s reddish quota is being caught by a vessel owned by a member of the union’s inshore council.
There’s yet another conflict of interest in that the current Master Collective Agreement between the FFAW-Unifor and the Association of Seafood Producers states the union-owned Fish Harvesters’ Resource Centres will be the “exclusive” dockside monitoring agent for all fisheries involving the under 100-foot fleet in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The FFAW is completing with its own members for quota, and policing its own catch, which is unacceptable no matter which side of the fence you’re on.”