Small-town fisherman takes on Ottawa – Kirby Elson says controlling agreements let him operate his fishing vessel

hi-crab-pot-20130420A fisherman from a small fishing town in Labrador has launched a legal challenge that could overturn decades-old federal policies in hopes of preserving independent inshore fisheries in Atlantic Canada. Kirby Elson of Cartwright, N.L., applied in June for a judicial review of a 2015 decision by the federal fisheries minister to take away his commercial fishing licences. Elson, 61, had refused to obey a DFO requirement that he exit a so-called controlling agreement with two Newfoundland and Labrador fish processors: Quinlan Brothers Ltd. and Labrador Sea Products Inc. Under the March 2003 agreement, the companies financed Elson’s snow crab licence, provided the vessel and crew, paid the insurance and covered vessel maintenance. Elson landed and sold his fish at the direction of the processors. The agreement stipulated he could not transfer the licence without company permission. Even in death, Elson’s estate was required to transfer the licence to a designate of the processors. Read the rest of the story here 07:53