Nfld. & Labrador

Avoid 'cherry-picking' from report that calls for end of LIFO, says Earle McCurdy

The former head of the fisheries union says a panel report calling for an end to the Last In, First Out (LIFO) policy is a big step in the right direction.
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says the province should move forward with a federal advisory panel's report that calls for the end of the LIFO policy. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

The former head of the fisheries union says a panel report calling for an end to the Last In, First Out (LIFO) policy for allocating northern shrimp quotas is a big step in the right direction.

An advisory panel released recommendations Tuesday saying current policy is unsustainable, and instead should be replaced with a new allocations regime that would include permanent proportional sharing for shrimp fishing areas.

Earle McCurdy, who is now leader of the provincial New Democratic Party, is cautioning the province not to try and pick through little details in the report.

The panel recommends the LIFO policy be replaced by a new allocations regime that would include permanent proportional sharing for shrimp fishing areas. (CBC)

The NDP Leader said the federal review panel's recommendations aren't perfect, but it will make a big difference to local shrimp fishers.

"I think what the panel has outlined here is a more reasonable way to go at the management of that fishery," he said.

"It's not 100 per cent," McCurdy added, saying offshore trawlers won't be completely excluded from fishing in Area 6, which he said was something inshore fishers were pushing for.

But he is hoping provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker will act quickly to get Ottawa to implement the panel's recommendations.

"I've got to assume the all-party committee will hopefully meet on an urgent basis with a view to getting a recommendation in very quickly. But it seems to me that if people start cherry picking that panel report then we'll probably end up with nothing."

"I see no advantage in delay, I would hope the minister would act right away. By now we should be several weeks into the shrimp fishery. I understand why it was put on hold, I agree with that, but it's now time to get fishing."

Allows for viable inshore fishery

FFAW president Keith Sullivan says the new regime would allow for a more viable inshore northern shrimp fishery for years to come. (CBC)

Meanwhile, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers' Union said the panel's recommendation "is a much fairer decision based on good fisheries management principles."

"The panel accepted the position of harvesters, plant workers, municipal leaders and small business owners who have been speaking out against LIFO for years," said FFAW President Keith Sullivan in a press release.

"While the decision doesn't remove the offshore fleet from Area 6, it does strengthen adjacency in Area 6 and recommends long overdue changes to how special allocations can be harvested. Most importantly, the recommendation will allow for a viable inshore northern shrimp fishery this year."

The province said in a statement Tuesday it is still reviewing the report and its findings.

A final decision on the review is expected to be made by federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc later this week.