Northern Shrimp quota mixed bag: harvester
Minister Crocker says cuts on lower end of what DFO could implement
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
Port de Grave shrimp harvester Nelson Bussey believes the announced cut to the Northern Shrimp quota is steeper than it needs to be.