NDP Leader Earle McCurdy has written to federal fisheries minister Hunter Tootoo, officially adding his voice to the many calling for shrimp fishing in Shrimp Fishing Area 6 until government has completed assessments of the resource, and of the impact on rural communities of any potential loss of quota.
The provincial legislature’s all-party committee on the shrimp fishery says adjacency must be the driving principle in allocating shrimp quotas, says McCurdy in his letter. The current Last In, First Out policy favours large companies.
McCurdy says it is irresponsible to allow fishing to continue in the Area without the full assessment of both the stock and its importance to rural communities, particularly as in many places shrimp has replaced cod as the major source of fishery income.
“The people in communities immediately adjacent to the northern shrimp stock experienced first-hand the disastrous impact of the collapse of the northern cod stock,” McCurdy says in his letter. “The growth in northern shrimp abundance in the wake of the cod collapse helped offset some of the economic decline associated with the loss of cod income.”
The economic implications of the latest information concerning shrimp in SFA6 are “potentially devastating for fish harvesters, plant workers, processors and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador,” says McCurdy. “How the Department of Fisheries and Oceans responds to this crisis will affect thousands of jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
A copy of McCurdy’s letter is attached.
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