FFAW members protest federal 'attacks' on N.L. fisheries

Members of the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers union rallied in Corner Brook Thursday, angry with federal policies that they say unfairly disadvantage Newfoundland and Labrador.
Members of the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers union rallied in Corner Brook. They say federal policies unfairly disadvantage Newfoundland and Labrador. 0:27

Members of the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers union rallied in Corner Brook Thursday, angry with federal policies that they say unfairly disadvantage Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Fisheries Minister Vaughan Granter says the increase in P.E.I.'s halibut quotas are a "kick in the gut" to Newfoundland and Labrador workers. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Around 50 fishers and several politicians came out in front of the Joseph R. Smallwood building to voice their anger with the decisions of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea.  

FFAW members say recent policies appeal to Maritime voters while disadvantaging workers in this province.

"These continued attacks by the federal Conservative government on rural Newfoundland and Labrador are shameful," FFAW president Keith Sullivan said in a statement.

In 2014, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans cut 26 per cent of the inshore fishery shrimp quota, while only five per cent was cut from the offshore trawl fleet's quota.

Last month, DFO announced changes to the total allowable catch for Atlantic halibut that would increase P.E.I.'s share by 87 per cent, while this province's quota only increased by nine per cent. As a result, the province missed out on 50 tonnes of fish and $600,000.

Politicians from all branches of government spoke at the rally. Provincial Fisheries Minister Vaughn Granter called P.E.I.'s halibut quota a "kick in the gut" for local fishers.

Sullivan said that the fisheries is particularly important given the volatility of the oil industry.

"The federal government seems to be under the impression that the economic sustainability Newfoundland and Labrador is unimportant to Canada," Sullivan said in a statement.

"The fishery is the economic future of our province but with management trends like this we will have no future."

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