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Tough titty: No extension for Gulf halibut fishermen who didn’t catch quota by deadline

A DFO spokesman says the two-week window that harvesters must choose in advance to catch their small, 1,700/lb halibut quota is “generally seen” by west coast Newfoundland harvesters as enough time — with “most" only taking a few days to land their fish.

A west coast Newfoundland fisherman cuts free a halibut after his 1,700/lb cap had been reached.


So no extension, and tough titty to the harvesters who weren’t able to catch their halibut — particularly in early/mid July — because it didn’t stop blowing in their areas of fishing zone 4R in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


SEA-NL wrote about it here: Many harvesters believe they should be allowed to catch halibut anytime in the June-October fishing season.


And here: Should NL halibut fishermen in the Gulf be forced to choose in advance which weeks they fish?


Safety at sea should override all other considerations.


But this latest decision by DFO could put harvesters back in a position whereby they either fish in poor weather or lose their quota — which has been a recipe for disaster.


The loss of four fishermen in 2016 from Shea Heights is a prime example.


Fishermen have certainly registered their complaints long enough about selecting as early as March the two weeks when they will fish their halibut in the summer — especially with the increasingly unpredictable weather that comes with climate change.


The below quote was from DFO's summary report of 2017 meetings the department held with harvesters around the province in to discuss the future of the inshore fishery.


The question of when halibut fishing should take place is an example of the kind of issue that could be (electronically) voted on by licensed, independent owner-operator fish harvesters.


A democratic vote by enterprise owners would increase the pressure on DFO for the change they want, and eliminate the smoke and mirrors that often surround FFAW consultations/endorsement.


Organizations such as the PEI Fishermen's Association and Nova Scotia's Inverness South Fishermen's Association often hold membership votes on issues such as opening dates, and various fishing policy.


Ryan Cleary,

SEA-NL


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.

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