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Throwback Thursday: Not even Irish quota ‘give aways’ can touch Newfoundland and Labrador's

I was forwarded a picture this week of a placard spotted in the window of an Irish fishing boat during a June, 2021 protest over cuts to quotas there. Irish fishermen, for example, were apparently only getting 3% of sole in Irish waters. But then leave it to Newfoundland and Labrador to out-woe Ireland. Our inshore fleet only has access to 2.5% of the halibut quota off the south coast.

A placard with 'Example of give away in Irish waters' seen in a window of a fishing boat mooring along the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland in June 2021. A flotilla of about 50 Irish fishing trawlers protested over cuts to quotas as the result of the UK leaving the European Union. Ireland lost 15% of its overall quota or 26,000 tonnes.

There's worse than that.

Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador has a .8% share of the cod quota on the Flemish Cap, a rich fishing zone just east of the Grand Banks.

Canada holds 15% of the turbot quota on the entire Grand Banks, with the remaining 85% held by counties like the European Union, Japan, and Russia.

In terms of halibut in the Gulf, Quebec has access to more quota than Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes combined.

Our inshore fleet off the south coast in fishing zone 3Ps has been squeezed out of two of the most productive scallop beds on the St. Pierre Bank.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s share of the entire Gulf snow crab quota is less than 1%. ,

Quebec harvesters can fish directly off Great Northern Peninsula communities like Port Saunders while our inshore boats are blocked from fishing off their own shores.

Not to be forgotten, Newfoundland and Labrador does not control her fisheries (that power rests with Ottawa), and DFO in this province acts as if the inshore fleet works for them.

A couple of quotes from a speech at the 2021 Irish protest stuck with me:

"Taking IRISH quota in IRISH waters and then offering the people of Ireland money for a vessel-reduction scheme isn’t ‘decommissioning’ — it's acquisition of OUR marine resources."

And ...

"The people of rural Ireland are fed up living in a world where the people must work for the government — while in every other country the government works FOR the people!"

Ryan Cleary,

Executive Director, SEA-NL

To read more about SEA-NL, or to join the non-profit organization please visit

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