Shrimp cuts impact harvesters/rural communities like a hammer: FISH-NL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, March 31st, 2017 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the massive cut to the northern shrimp quota off the Great Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador (Shrimp Fishing Area 6) has hit the inshore fleet and adjacent communities like a hammer.

“The crisis in the shrimp fishery is unprecedented,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The situation today is even worse than the groundfish moratoria of the early 1990s in that many shrimp harvesters have no other species to turn to. The harvesters who do have other species have also taken massive hits.”

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced northern shrimp quotas late Thursday, cutting the total allowable catch (TAC) in SFA 6 (the area the inshore fleet is most reliant on) by 62.6 per cent — to 10,400 tonnes this year from 27,825 in 2016. The TAC reached 48,000 tonnes in 2015. 

The cuts in TACs were in line with scientific recommendations handed down in early March.

“We can’t make more shrimp magically appear,” says Cleary, calling on DFO to allow flexibility this year in harvesting rules. “DFO must do all it can to make it easier for harvesters to get through this crisis and keep their heads above water.”

FISH-NL reiterated its call for an immediate halt to the fishing of northern shrimp in SFA 6 by factory-freezer trawlers, reserving the limited quota for the inshore fleet. FISH-NL has also called on Ottawa to assign a quota of northern shrimp in SFA 5 further north off Labrador to the inshore fleet.