Federal stance on northern shrimp allocations threatens provincial economy
Following is a press release issued today from the Federal Government today:
The Federal Government’s unwillingness to consider alternatives to its “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) policy continues to threaten the economic well-being of rural communities that depend on northern shrimp. The Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Chair of the All-Party Committee, was joined by Dwight Ball, Leader of the Official Opposition, and Lorraine Michael, Leader of the New Democratic Party, in discussions yesterday with the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, but received no indication that the Federal Government would act on any of the committee’s recommendations.
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Hutchings said, “The Federal Government’s unwillingness to dialogue about how to share declining northern shrimp resources in a way that protects the economic interests of all those who depend on it has been very frustrating. The federal stance on this vital issue demonstrates a complete disregard for more than 100 communities in which inshore shrimp harvesters and plant workers reside. For a government that prides itself on economic stewardship, its performance in this matter has been shameful.”
It took more than three months for Minister Shea to commit to meeting the all party committee. Immediately after the meeting, Minister Shea issued a statement that summarized the Federal Government’s position and criticized the Provincial Government, indicating the outcome of the meeting had been predetermined. This statement included a number of inaccuracies that require correction. Minister Shea continues to claim that “In-shore fleet members have received 90 per cent of all increases to the shrimp quota since 1998,” even though the facts presented to her by the committee prove this is untrue. The in-shore fleet received 90 per cent of all increases to the shrimp quota in area six only. There are eight fishing areas numbered “zero” to “seven,” and the offshore fleet was the sole or principal beneficiary from substantial increases in most of those other fishing sectors – areas where the in-shore fleet has no access. The Federal Government’s assertion that the inshore fleet has almost exclusively enjoyed increases to shrimp allocations is fiction.