Nfld. & Labrador

Fisheries union presents giant novelty cheque for $1 billion to C-NLOPB

In an effort to draw attention to valuable crab fishing grounds that could see oil exploration, the FFAW attempted to place a bid.

FFAW submitted its 'bid' on parcels of the Jeanne D'arc basin

Members of the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union spent part of Monday at the office of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board. (@FFAW_Unifor/Twitter)

Days before a call for oil exploration bids closes, Newfoundland and Labrador's largest fisheries union made what president Keith Sullivan called a "last-ditch effort" to stop the process. 

Sullivan, who leads the Fish Food & Allied Workers, brandished an oversized cheque for $1 billion Monday morning at the headquarters of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, made out to the board. 

"The bid process is not open to us, so we understand that the bid is not going to be accepted," said Sullivan. 

The stunt is in response to a C-NLOPB call for bids for parcels of the Jeanne D'arc basin, which is on the Grand Banks. 

That area is also home to the lucrative 3L crab fishing area. 

Sullivan and other union officials are concerned oil exploration could shut down the fishery.

FFAW president Keith Sullivan and other union members presented the C-NLOPB with a novelty cheque. (Todd O'Brien/CBC)

"The harvesters here who fish in those areas have done everything to highlight the value of these fishing grounds. It's widely available information," he said. 

"Up to this point they feel like they have not been listened to." 

In an emailed statement, Lesley Rideout with the C-NLOPB said the board "fully appreciates the importance of both the fisheries and petroleum sectors."

A successful bid in the Grand Banks wouldn't necessarily mean oil production is imminent. 

Oil companies would have to go through an environmental assessment process and get approvals from the federal and provincial governments. 

All the while, fishing could continue. 

"We will continue to engage with fisheries stakeholders, and we expect oil and gas industry participants to ensure effective communications and coordination with the fishing sector," Rideout wrote.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Todd O'Brien

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