Nfld. & Labrador

Quota cuts anger N.L. shrimp fishermen

Inshore shrimp fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador are angry the federal government has limited the amount of shrimp that they are allowed to catch this year.

Inshore shrimp fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador are angry the federal government has limited the amount of shrimp that they are allowed to catch this year.

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans memo shows an interim cut of about 40 per cent is planned for the inshore shrimp fishery.

Port au Choix fisherman Dwight Spence said the quota reduction is unacceptable.

"If it's that kind of cut, we're not going fishing. We have to come together as a group and fight. We've already taken a 28 per cent cut last year," said Spence.

The offshore quota was also reduced by about 10 per cent.

Spence said the cuts should be spread out equally between the inshore and offshore fisheries.

The union that represents the fisherman issued a strongly worded news release Friday with the headline: "Harper government shafts shrimp harvesters."

It quotes Food, Fish and Allied Workers union president Earle McCurdy as saying shrimp harvesters have been given the "the royal shaft in quota allocations for the 2011 fishery."

McCurdy said the cuts could have a dramatic impact people working in the province's fishery.

"In total, quotas for inshore fleets are down by a whopping 52 million pounds from a year ago. That's the equivalent of four shrimp plants, evaporated into thin air," he said.

McCurdy also said the FFAW accepts the need for quota reductions in light of diminished catch rates and negative scientific assessments on the shrimp stocks, but they should have been implemented fairly.

now