FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Oct. 25th, 2021
SEA-NL is calling on Premier Andrew Furey to take a stand for the province’s inshore fleet to ensure the sector is the primary beneficiary of the adjacent and exploding redfish stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
“Redfish could be to the inshore fleet what Hibernia was to the oil industry, but Premier Furey must draw a line in the sand to get us there,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“This is why Premier Furey must advocate strongly with redfish so the precedent will be set for the inshore fleet with respect to all species in adjacent waters as the driver of the blue economy.”
Under a moratorium since 1995, the redfish stock in the Gulf began exploding in 2013, and is predicted to support an annual fishery of up to 50,000 tonnes (one of Canada's largest fisheries) in 4-5 years.
By that time most of the redfish, which are currently the minimum harvest size of 22 cms, are expected to reach sexual maturity of 25-27 cms, driving a new fishery worth tens of millions. The redfish biomass in the Gulf is estimated at 4.5 million tonnes.
At issue is the quota-sharing arrangements. SEA-NL takes the stand that the province’s inshore fleet must be principal beneficiary (50%+1) of the Gulf redfish stock — as with all stocks in adjacent waters.
The dragger sector (which Ottawa is currently investigating for foreign ownership/control) wants a 75% share of the eventual Gulf redfish quota, while the FFAW’s stand is all over the chart to the point that it’s ineffective.
“When it comes to redfish (or any other fish), inshore owner-operators cannot rely on the FFAW to fight tooth-and-nail for them when the union also represents underworked plant workers, underpaid offshore trawlermen, and holds redfish quotas in direct conflict with its own members,” said Cleary.
“The province, through Premier Furey, has a responsibility to take a stand for the inshore fishery that supports rural fishing communities.”
Independent licensed owner-operators are encouraged to join SEA-NL here. These blog posts will be public for a limited time, before becoming exclusive to the membership.