The Newfoundland and Labrador New Democratic Party's leader is calling for provincial fisheries minister Clyde Jackman to resign after he rejected the recommendations of a committee calling for massive cuts to the province's fishing industry.
The NDP's Lorraine Michael said she was shocked by Jackman's response to the report released on Friday.
Jackman dismissed the report almost immediately saying the proposed cuts don't solve the main problems in the fishery and the recommended $450 million cost of compensating fish processors and fishermen to get out of the business is too high.
"I'm certainly questioning how a minister who comes from a rural area where the fishery is so important can continue in the portfolio with the thinking that he has," said Michael.
'[Jackman] is not interested in discussing...where to go ' —Lorraine Michael, NDP leader
Jackman is originally from the Hermitage Bay area, on the province's south coast. Michael said the provincial government must do more than stick its head in the sand.
"[Jackman] is not interested in discussing with the players in the fishing industry where to go. For me, it should be a sign to people who are thinking about voting for him that they better change their minds," she said.
Michael said she wants a full discussion on the merits of the report and to take part in developing a plan for the future of the province's fishing industry.
The report prepared by the Independent Steering Committee for Fishing Industry Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was released by the province, and proposes a restructuring that would include:
- 30-80 per cent reduction in inshore fleets. Biggest reductions along the northeast coast and southern Labrador.
- Up to 50 per cent reduction in nearshore fleets. Biggest reductions along the northeast coast and southern Labrador.
- 30% reduction in crab and shrimp plants (by volume).
- $450-million cost to achieve the cuts.
The report was prepared by Prof. Tom Clift of Memorial University's faculty of business administration. He has served as the independent chair of the steering committee since its creation in August 2009.