Nfld. & Labrador

DFO announces new office, jobs for Labrador

MP Yvonne Jones says a new DFO office to be located in Happy Valley-Goose Bay will help streamline operations and better represent Labrador's fishing industry within the department.

VP of NunatuKavut council hopes announcement is more than pre-election promise

A DFO truck backs up to the water near the port at Happy Valley-Goose Bay. DFO says its Happy Valley-Goose Bay location will become a regional office.  (Jonny Hodder/CBC)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is beefing up its presence in Labrador, designating its Happy Valley-Goose Bay location as a regional office. 

That means fishermen in Labrador will no longer have to deal with regional DFO offices in Corner Brook or Grand Falls-Windsor. 

Labrador MP Yvonne Jones said the new regional office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay will bring employment opportunities, including a new area director.  

"We won't now have to depend upon someone somewhere else to be at the big table speaking for us inside of DFO," she said. 

Labrador MP Yvonne Jones says DFO has already hired a new employee to work out of the proposed regional office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (CBC)

"We've already hired a field officer that is based in Port Hope Simpson, who is an Indigenous field officer as well, who will be working with the harbour authorities for Labrador."

According to Jones, the regional office in Labrador will shift how DFO deals with the fishery in Labrador from both policy and funding perspectives.

"I see this as one of the fundamental turning points for us … in how we engage with communities and how we build the fishery of the future," Jones said. 

At least one person is questioning the announcement's timing, though.

I gotta say, this is not the first time that this has been talked about before an election.- Jim Holwell

Jim Holwell, vice-president of the NunatuKavut community council, spent 29 years working with DFO. 

"I gotta say, this is not the first time that this has been talked about before an election," Holwell said. "I can't say whether it's an election promise or not, but hopefully it will happen this time around."

Labrador's fishery is booming, and having a dedicated regional DFO office nearby would help streamline operations, he said.

"This is a good announcement for Newfoundland and Labrador, and hopefully it will be put in place very shortly."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Labrador Morning

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