North­ern Shrimp quota mixed bag: har­vester

Min­is­ter Crocker says cuts on lower end of what DFO could im­ple­ment

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Port de Grave shrimp har­vester Nel­son Bussey had mixed feel­ings about the 42 per cent cut to the North­ern Shrimp quota the fed­eral fish­eries min­is­ter an­nounced Fri­day.

“I was pleased that the min­is­ter did away with LIFO,” said Bussey, chair­man for the 3L shrimp fleet and a mem­ber of the FFAW-Uni­for ex­ec­u­tive board. “I was OK with that. But I was dis­ap­pointed with the quota cuts … To me, that was steeper than it needed to be.”

In­shore har­vesters will get 70 per cent of the al­low­able catch for 2016-17, re­sult­ing in a quota of 19,366 met­ric tonnes. Ac­cord­ing to an FFAW news re­lease, that’s a 39 per cent de­cline from the per­vi­ous sea­son for in­shore har­vesters.

Pro­vin­cial Fish­eries Min­is­ter Steve Crocker, who was also happy to see an end to the Last In, First Out pol­icy, rec­og­nizes de­clin­ing biomass fig­ures from the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans meant a re­duc­tion was likely.

“It falls within the har­vest con­trol rules that are es­tab­lished for this stock,” he told The Com­pass Fri­day, not­ing that un­der such rules, the cuts could have come in at any­where between 42 and 57 per cent. Thus, the fed­eral min­is­ter went with the lower end of that scale.

“Ob­vi­ously, it will be a shock for the sys­tem,” said Crocker. “You look at a fish­ery that had an over­all (total al­low­able catch) of 85,000 tonnes to this year where you have an over­all TAC of just shy of 28,000 tonnes — so slightly un­der 60,000 tonnes gone since 2009.”

Bussey was pre­pared for some cuts given con­cerns sur­round­ing the health of the stock. How­ever, as some­one who is ac­tive in the North­ern Shrimp har­vest, he be­lieves the de­cline in the fish stock is over­stated.

“They’re not cap­tur­ing the

“That is our assess­ment of why the sur­vey is fall­ing short on the real pic­ture of the biomass.”

Bussey has hopes, as do oth­ers, that a re­bound­ing cod stock will help lessen the im­pact of cuts to the shrimp quota. How­ever, he ac­knowl­edges things are mov­ing slowly on the po­ten­tial re­open­ing of that fish­ery.

“We’re still wait­ing on an an­nounce­ment from the fed­eral govern­ment on cod,” Bussey said. “It’s just slow com­ing. But now cod is not go­ing to do it alone.”

Crocker said his govern­ment would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and work with pro­ces­sors to cre­ate eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties within the sec­tor.

“And there are op­por­tu­ni­ties. So hope­fully we can iden­tify these op­por­tu­ni­ties sooner rather than later to off­set some of this de­clin­ing stock.”

They’re not cap­tur­ing the real pic­ture of the biomass. Nel­son Bussey

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Port de Grave shrimp har­vester Nel­son Bussey be­lieves the an­nounced cut to the North­ern Shrimp quota is steeper than it needs to be.

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