On January 13, 2021 the Coalition of Atlantic Canadian and Quebec Fishing Organizations made a special presentation directly to the Atlantic Canada Federal Liberal Caucus.
Two weeks later, on February 2, 2021, the Coalition virtually met with the Conservative Atlantic Caucus and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.
The purpose of the presentation was to help educate Liberal MPs on the seriousness of the situation on the fishery and to share solutions for a path forward for a sustainable and healthy fishery for everyone.
The session included presentations from a team of leaders of fishing associations and the sharing of research from Nanos on how Canadians feel about the fishery.
The team presented six requests:
- We request the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) commit to a complete ban of all commercial fishing outside of existing commercial seasons and that local fishing periods and other conservation measures be the same for all stake- and rights-holders.
- The law needs to be enforced equally on all violators of the Fisheries Act. Such is not the case currently. The enforcement needs to be depoliticized and must become independent of government intervention.
- Any commercial fisheries access has to be authorized by the Minister according to the Fisheries Act.
- We ask that the one license in, one license out protocol be continued as exercised in the initial Marshall Response initiative. However, socio-economic studies should be done in areas where significant impacts from license buy-backs would be expected. It would also be important to prioritize bands that are no longer leasing-out their existing commercial access to non-indigenous interests.
- The current negotiation process needs to be revamped so non-aboriginal commercial fishery representatives are included in the process. A detailed DFO communications plan is also required to educate the public and industry on the reconciliation process as it relates to the fishery, as well as to the advancements done in the past 20 years.
- We require an immediate and fulsome analysis of the proposed Clearwater sale and this transaction should not be approved before this analysis is complete and harvesting sector concerns addressed. We are formally asking the standing committee on Fisheries and Oceans to fully analyze the potential impacts of this proposed deal.
The Coalition will continue to work on behalf of commercial fishermen in Atlantic Canada and Quebec by educating elected officials and media on the real facts about the fishery.
National public opinion research by Nanos for the Coalition suggests that the principles of sustainability, one set of rules, DFO enforcement and dialogue between fishing organizations and Indigenous leaders remain very important to Canadians.
Of significant note, the views on these issues, even in the face of controversies in Southwest Nova Scotia, remain strong. Also of note by a margin of more than two to one, Canadians believe that rules should apply to everyone without exception.
For more information on the latest news from the Coalition, visit www.1fishery.ca where you can sign the petition of support or send an email to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to listen to fishermen.
The Coalition of Atlantic and Quebec Fishing Organizations are a movement of fishermen committed to a sustainable, healthy fishery and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
By the Coalition of Atlantic and Quebec Fishing Organizations