DFO Wins Controlling Agreement Legal Challenge

In a May 5 ruling, Federal Court Justice Cecily Strickland has upheld the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s (DFO) policy on controlling agreements between fishermen and corporations.

DFO has always maintained that individual fishermen, not corporations, are allowed to hold and control inshore licences.

However, this rule was challenged in federal court recently by of Cartwright, Labrador fisherman Kirby Elson.

Elson was appealing a 2015 decision by the minister of fisheries to strip him of his snow crab licence because he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two fish processors.

Strickland ruled the federal fisheries minister was entitled to strip a snow crab fishing licence from Elson after he refused to exit a controlling agreement with two fish processors.

Many industry observers said this ruling will help prevent the the corporate takeover of inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

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