Discussing the fishery
Hare Bay fishers highlight industry concerns during DFO session
HARE BAY, NL – As the open session with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) representatives about fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador got underway in Hare Bay on Jan. 19, harvesters were a little hesitant to speak up. But as the two-hour meeting – session four of DFO’s crossprovince tour – progressed, one by one they started to express themselves. The conversation focused mainly on groundfish species, as most of the approximately two dozen participants fish in the under-40-foot fleet. Ron Burton, area director for DFO Eastern, Central and Labrador, said there have been a lot of noticeable trends in the meetings being held across the province. He said 85 to 90 per cent of the discussions and concerns are similar “but every area has its own uniqueness.” “Which is important for us to hear, because what works in St. Anthony might not necessarily work here,” said Burton. Wareham fisherman Gerard Hounsell looked at the session as a great opportunity for a face-to-face exchange with DFO that hopefully results in positive change within the industry. For Hounsell, he’s hoping it can open discussions about the return of a turbot fishery in 3L in waters less than 300 fathoms deep. He said the fishery did exist in the area previously but was shut down more than a decade ago because of a high cod bycatch. “With weekly cod quotas now, why not juggle things around to make this type of fishery work,” Hounsell said.
Approximately two dozen Bonavista Bay fishermen took part in a two-hour open discussion session with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Jan. 19.