The Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) is calling for an immediate halt to all northern shrimp fishing activity in Shrimp Fishing Area 6 (SFA6), which is located adjacent to the northeast coast of Newfoundland and the southeast coast of Labrador.
The call for a halt is in response to reports that the fishable biomass for SFA6 has declined sharply over the past year. “If the reports we have received are accurate, then we are facing a very difficult situation in the northern shrimp fishery that will have significant consequences for harvesters, processing workers, and the communities and regions that depend upon the shrimp fishery,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW.
The request for a halt, which the FFAW will immediately submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), would apply to all vessels fishing shrimp in SFA6. Currently, there are up to six factory-freezer offshore vessels harvesting northern shrimp in the waters off of the Northern Peninsula.
“Without a full stock assessment, it is economically and environmentally irresponsible to continue to harvest northern shrimp in SFA6,” Sullivan continued.
“The offshore boats that are currently fishing are doing so during key spawning seasons for northern shrimp, which does further damage to the viability of the northern shrimp stock.”
“A full stock assessment needs to be conducted by DFO in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the northern shrimp stock in SFA6. We need to make a decision on the northern shrimp fishery that is in the best interests of the people and communities that depend upon the shrimp fishery. We can do nothing less,” Sullivan concluded.
It is anticipated that the stock status update for SFA6 will be released to the public later this week. The FFAW will release further information on the implications of the stock status report at that time.