Fishery workers protest latest DFO inshore shrimp cuts

Angry fishery workers in central Newfoundland picked up the picket line on Tuesday to protest the latest cuts to inshore shrimp quotas.

Cuts to inshore shrimp quotas prompt outcry in central Newfoundland

Protesters took to chanting outside the DFO offices in Grand Falls-Windsor on Tuesday to show their anger over the latest federal cuts to inshore northern shrimp quotas. (CBC)

Angry fishery workers in central Newfoundland formed a picket line on Tuesday to protest the latest cuts to inshore shrimp quotas.

Earlier this month, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a 9,000-tonne cut from the inshore fishery for northern shrimp quotas, while only 1,000 was cut from the offshore trawler fleet.

Fishermen and fishery workers have been protesting the cuts since they were announced.

A crowd of about 50 upset fishery workers gathered outside the DFO offices in Grand Falls-Windsor Tuesday to protest the cuts.

Protesters said the federal government cuts will devastate not only their industry, but also their communities.

Sandy Crawford, a town councillor from Fogo Island, said maintaining livelihoods for people working in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is vital to local economies.

"When people come to visit the island they need certain services, and if we start losing small business, or business in general, when people do arrive on the island the services aren't going to be there," Crawford said.

"So for the long-term future of Fogo Island, this is key."

Rural industry vital for commerce

Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins said smaller communities are, in turn, vital to larger centres like his town.

"Our economy is basically run by people that come in to us as a service hub, and you buy the cars and the trucks and all that — the big-ticket items — that really keep our economy moving," said Hawkins.
Lucy Collins says many of her family members have already moved to Alberta for work, and she doesn't want to be forced to do the same. (CBC)

"It's not the people necessarily in Grand Falls-Windsor, it's the people that come in from Fogo and Twillingate and Triton and all those places."

Some residents are concerned that the cuts are part of a trend that ends with people from this province moving west, to provinces like Alberta, where they can find work.

Lucy Collins, who works in the Fogo Island Co-Op fish plant, said most of her family already lives in Alberta, and she doesn't want to be forced out of her home community, too.

"Without rural Newfoundland, there is no Newfoundland," Collins said.

"I got two children and six grandchildren, all in Alberta, because there's nothing here for 'em, and now they're gonna drive the few of us back up there, too."

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union is set to meet with Premier Tom Marshall on Thursday to discuss the cuts.


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