Granting offshore trawlers in Shrimp Fishing Area (SFA) 6 an advance on next season’s quotas or interim quotas would undermine the full stock assessment and allocation policy review, said the president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) today in a press release.
Keith Sullivan said while these critical processes are underway, all fishing in SFA 6 must cease.
“By granting interim quotas, the federal government would be tacitly admitting that offshore quota guarantees will continue after the review is conducted. This short-sighted decision would not only undermine the assessment process and allocation review, it betrays the thousands of harvesters and plant workers whose livelihoods hang in the balance.”
At the beginning of February, the northern shrimp stock status report provided devastating news for the inshore northern shrimp fishery by stating that the stock in SFA 6 appears to show a 41 per cent decline. From a conservation perspective, any “borrowing” of future quota or interim quota that allows more shrimp to be caught would result in a significant increase in the exploitation rate, Sullivan said.
FFAW-Unifor has called for a halt to all fishing in SFA 6 until the assessment and policy review is complete. Despite the troubling stock status update, several offshore factory freezer trawlers continue to harvest shrimp in the area, he added.
“Inshore harvesters and plant workers are expecting a fair and independent review of allocation policies,” continued Sullivan. “We strongly urge the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to pause any fishing activities until the review is completed and a new allocation policy is established.”