Nfld. & Labrador

Ottawa should scrap 'last in, first out' policy, say fishermen

Newfoundland and Labrador politicians and fishermen were in Gander today, to call on Ottawa to scrap a northern shrimp fishery policy known as 'LIFO'.
Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen want the Canadian government to scrap a policy that protects fishing licences for those who held them the longest, meaning inshore fishers are first to go when quotas are cut. (CBC)

Politicians from all Newfoundland and Labrador political parties and local fishermen want the federal government to get rid of a policy known as "last in, first out."

Fishermen from across the province were in Gander Wednesday to protest the policy, which they say makes fishing harder for local harvesters, by signing a letter to send to Ottawa.

The federal policy on northern shrimp is commonly referred to as 'LIFO,' and aims to protect fishing licences for those who have held them the longest.

When quotas are cut, small inshore boats are hit the hardest because they were last to enter the fishery.

FFAW President Keith Sullivan, speaking with Liberal Leader Dwight Ball on Wednesday, says cutting inshore fishermen is unfair. (CBC)
Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union President Keith Sullivan says it's an unfair policy.

"Last year the inshore took 26 per cent cut. The offshore? Just five per cent — and that's not right," Sullivan said.

Robert Keenan, who did a report on the northern shrimp fishery for the FFAW and Unifor, said the policy doesn't work.

"The other thing we discovered is that 'LIFO' is really unnecessary and it's completely illogical. We're not boxes in a warehouse," he said,

Twillingate Mayor Gordon Noseworthy said the solution is an easy one.

Noseworthy, who's fishing area is in zone six, said Ottawa should scrap the 'last in, first out' policy and honour adjacency instead.

"All we're asking to do with adjacency is, 'give us everything in six — it's right along where we're fishing,'" he said.

While people attending the rally supported Noseworthy's words, no one representing the federal government attended.

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea was invited, but did not attend.

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