Nfld. & Labrador

Western Nfld. halibut protest suspended

Fishermen in western Newfoundland say they have suspended a protest Wednesday over halibut quota cuts they believe are unfair.

Fishermen in western Newfoundland suspended a protest Wednesday over halibut quota cuts they believe are unfair.

Food, Fish and Allied Workers union representative Dave Decker said fishermen in other provinces are getting halibut at the expense of Newfoundland.

"There's no way [fishermen here] can plan in terms of the future," said Decker. "There's no way to provide stability to communities that was pure, raw politics in this and it has to be reversed."

Decker said the union has suspended the protest to give the federal minister time to review the issue.

Fishermen from western Newfoundland occupied federal Fisheries department offices in Corner Brook Tuesday and Wednesday.

The 70 union members are furious over halibut quotas they say are going to Quebec and Maritime fishermen rather than Newfoundland.

The federal government recently announced an 80-tonne increase for halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but protestors say the share for Quebec is going up three times more than what's allocated to the Newfoundland fleet.

Newfoundland fishermen said they're losing 35 metric tonnes and five fishing days.

"Out of 680-tonne quota we will have about 18 per cent. Compare it back to 2004 when the quota was 350 tonnes we took 175 tonnes," the FFAW’s Decker said.

"We just can't put up with it no more," fisherman Conway Caines said Tuesday.

Caines and other fishermen from the west coast and southern Labrador started the protest by barricading the front door of the federal building Tuesday, allowing in only media and other fishermen.