Nfld. & Labrador

Shrimp fisherman tells review board inshore fleet can't afford quota cuts

An inshore fisherman is optimistic the federal government will kill the last in-first out policy, arguing that rural Newfoundland and Labrador would otherwise suffer too much damage.

Skipper tells Federal Review Board current policy should be scrapped

The shrimp fishery brings important revenue into coastal communities like Port de Grave. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

An inshore fisherman is optimistic the federal government will kill the "last in, first out" policy after telling an external review panel hearing submissions on how cuts to the shrimp quota should be shared between inshore and offshore fleets.

Nelson Bussey, who fishes in Shrimp Area 6, off northeastern Newfoundland and southern Labrador, told the panel Tuesday the LIFO policy should be changed because inshore fishermen will see a bigger cut in shrimp quotas, compared to offshore trawlers. 

Bussey says nine processing plants, 200 vessels and thousands of jobs in rural areas depend on the inshore quota.

A map of northern shrimp fishing areas. (DFO)

"We're okay with the process ... as long as everyone has their input, and at the end of the day justice is done," Bussey told reporters after presenting at the St. John's hearing.

"For the offshore, if they lose area 6, they'll still go on as normal because they have all the zones to the north... if we lose area 6, we're out of the fishery."

DFO has used the policy to justify why inshore quotas are cut more than offshore quotas as shrimp stocks decline.

The shrimp fishery in the region was first established by the offshore fleet. But Bussey argues cuts to inshore quotas will do greater damage to rural communities.

"People don't realize how serious this is and hopefully, at the end of the day, the right decision is made."

The external review panel concluded its morning session in St. John's on Tuesday.  

Five more hearings are planned for Gander, St. Anthony, Mary's Harbour, Happy Valley - Goose Bay and Halifax.