Nova Scotia

Cape Breton halibut fishermen want fair quota

About 40 Cape Breton fishermen gathered in front of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans office in Sydney Tuesday morning to protest halibut quotas.

About 40 fishermen from northern Cape Breton to North Sydney gathered in front of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans office in Sydney Tuesday morning to protest halibut quotas.

They want future quotas for the valuable fish to be divided in a new way.

Danny Usifer, vice-president of the North of Smokey- Inverness South Fishermen's Association, said they have to divide 37 tonnes of halibut among more than 400 license holders.

Usifer said they're protesting because other efforts to resolve the issue have failed.

"We tried to come here in the past and set up meetings and do things the democratic way, but we’re not getting any support from our local offices. So, this is our way to show that we’re not happy with the way things are going on here," Usifer said.

Other regions in Nova Scotia have hundreds of tons of halibut quota, plus other groundfish, he said.

The Cape Breton fishermen are not asking to take current quota away from other fishermen, Usifer said, but they do want a larger share of future quotas.

"We don't want to take away from existing fishermen. What we're looking for is any future increases, new increases of halibut coming down, to be shared more equally," he said.

"The sharing formula is we get two per cent of the overall quota and we can't survive on that. It's not enough to keep us going. We need a meeting with the federal minister."

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