Nfld. & Labrador

Northern Peninsula shrimp harvester hoping for changes to quota rules

Roland Genge says shrimp allocation is working against the inshore harvesters.

Roland Genge questions science methodology

Anchor Point shrimp fisherman Roland Genge wants to see the methodology for shrimp assessments change. (Troy Turner/CBC)

He's seen the best the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery has had to offer over the past 42 years — and the worst.

From buying a new boat in the 1980s, to the collapse of cod in 1992, to the rise of shrimp quotas and price, Roland Genge has taken the waves of the inshore fishery in stride.

Now, the Anchor Point fisherman is concerned about last month's shrimp assessments.

"We're going to be cut … every year on account of the way the survey is being done," Genge told CBC News on Monday. "It's set to fail.

"I don't know where we stand, and it can be so good because it's a job, with proper management (that), can employ thousands and thousands of people. We've done it. It can be done again."

He fishes shrimp in Area 6 and Area 8. A stock assessment released by DFO listed Area 6 as "critical" while Area 5, just north of it, was listed at "healthy."

Warmer temperatures have led to shrimp moving to different regions, Genge said, but the studies are conducted in the same places. If scientists know the fish are moving, it makes no sense to base assessment in the region, he said.

The shrimp quota for Area 6 has decreased every year but one since 2015-2016, going from 48,196 tonnes to last year's 8,960 tonnes. The quotas for Area 8 were unavailable.

"I don't know why they're doing this because our catch rates haven't diminished a bit from our fleet, not one thing. It's excellent fishing."

Genge says Area 5, with a favourable stock assessment, should be opened up for fishing by the inshore harvesters and not left for offshore boats only. He says there would be no issue for the boats to fish there, but it would take the approval of DFO.

"We think the offshore has got a big say in this," he said. "That's who wants control of all the fishery.… It's like somebody is out to get us out, that's what I've been thinking. I've been at it so long and fighting so hard."

Genge has a lot of uncertainty over the future of the fishery. He would like to pass along his enterprise to his son, who is fishing with him, but says heavy taxation on the selling of licences would cripple him financially. He also says startup costs make it next to impossible for young people to enter the fishery now given the depleted quotas, which hurt the ability to make that money back. 

"I don't know where they're going to expect our youth or people to go around the world anymore," he said. "There's no jobs, no secure jobs, unless they wants everybody to be a doctor."

Shrimp fishermen in Area 6 hope they can get a few trips to fish shrimp further north in areas 4 and 5 this year, where the quotas have increased. (DFO)

Shrimp quotas by area

2015-2016
Area 4 – 14,971 tonnes
Area 5 – 23,300 tonnes
Area 6 – 48,196 tonnes
Area 8 - unavailable

2016-2017
Area 4 – 14,971 tonnes
Area 5 – 25,630 tonnes
Area 6 – 27,825 tonnes
Area 8 - unavailable

2017-2018
Area 4 – 15,725 tonnes
Area 5 – 22,000 tonnes
Area 6 – 10,400 tonnes
Area 8 - unavailable

2018-2019
Area 4 – 15,725 tonnes
Area 5 – 25,630 tonnes
Area 6 – 8,730 tonnes
Area 8 - unavailable

2019-2020
Area 4 – 10,845 tonnes
Area 5 – 22,100 tonnes
Area 6 – 8,960 tonnes
Area 8 - unavailable
Source: DFO

The Newfie Pride, Roland Genge's shrimp boat, is docked in Port Saunders for the winter. (Troy Turner/CBC)

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