FFAW Calls for Immediate Halt to Northern Shrimp Fishery in Area 6

NEWS RELEASE: Thousands of Jobs at Risk in Northern Shrimp Fishery

Thursday, February 25, 2016

St. John’s – Thousands of harvesting and processing jobs in rural Newfoundland and Labrador may be lost if the current fisheries management policies for northern shrimp are maintained. The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) is providing further details on the impact of sharp declines in the northern shrimp stock as outlined in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) stock status report.

“The implications of the stock status report, if they are confirmed, will be challenging if DFO’s quota allocation policies do not change,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW.

The facts show the scope of the challenge:

•In 2009, the inshore fleet had a quota of 131 million pounds in shrimp fishing area (SFA) 6; for 2016, if LIFO is still applied, the quota will be reduced to approximately 13 million pounds.

  • A 13 million pound quota cannot support the 10 fish plants that currently exist. This quota can only support 2 plants, at most. It is likely that 8 plants will have to close.
  • There will be thousands of jobs lost in rural NL in the harvesting and processing sectors.
  • Harvesters and processing companies invested tens of millions of dollars in the shrimp fishery. With a 13 million pound quota, this investment will be lost.
  • Dozens of towns and communities depend on the shrimp fishery as their economic hub. This will now be removed.

“The economy of our rural communities, including Fogo Island, has been built on the fishery,” said Phil Barnes, General Manager of the Fogo Island Co-op. “There’s just so much uncertainty in the shrimp fishery at the moment that we have to prepare for the worst.”

“Our town was fortunate enough to escape the worst of the moratorium because we had a shrimp plant and crab plant,” stated Mayor Bruce Button of Old Perlican. “If the stock status update figures are confirmed, we know our shrimp plant will be in jeopardy, as will the shrimp plant in our neighboring town of Bay de Verde. That’s 400 workers, that’s a big chunk of our municipal revenue. This is a crisis.”

“It is important for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to know that this crisis is primarily the result of choices made by the federal government over the past decade,” asserts Sullivan. “The federal government has chosen to protect the offshore factory-freezer boats at the expense of our towns and communities. Allowing factory-freezer boats to go and fish during important spawning seasons undermines the sustainability of the northern shrimp stock. Just this morning, there were six large vessels off the coast of Fogo Island.”

“We are calling on the federal government to do the right thing,” Sullivan concluded. “Immediately halt all shrimp fishing in SFA 6.”

For more information:

Jessica McCormick, Communications Officer (709) 567-7276



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, February 23, 2016

FFAW Calls for Immediate Halt to Northern Shrimp Fishery in Area 6

St. John’s – The Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) is calling for an immediate halt to all northern shrimp fishing activity in Shrimp Fishing Area 6 (SFA6), which is located adjacent to the northeast coast of Newfoundland and the southeast coast of Labrador.

The call for a halt is in response to reports that the fishable biomass for SFA6 has declined sharply over the past year. “If the reports we have received are accurate, then we are facing a very difficult situation in the northern shrimp fishery that will have significant consequences for harvesters, processing workers, and the communities and regions that depend upon the shrimp fishery,” said Keith Sullivan, President of the FFAW.

The request for a halt, which the FFAW will immediately submit to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), would apply to all vessels fishing shrimp in SFA6. Currently, there are up to six factory-freezer offshore vessels harvesting northern shrimp in the waters off of the Northern Peninsula.

“Without a full stock assessment, it is economically and environmentally irresponsible to continue to harvest northern shrimp in SFA6,” Sullivan continued. “The offshore boats that are currently fishing are doing so during key spawning seasons for northern shrimp, which does further damage to the viability of the northern shrimp stock.”

“A full stock assessment needs to be conducted by DFO in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the northern shrimp stock in SFA6. We need to make a decision on the northern shrimp fishery that is in the best interests of the people and communities that depend upon the shrimp fishery. We can do nothing less,” Sullivan concluded.

It is anticipated that the stock status update for SFA6 will be released to the public later this week. The FFAW will release further information on the implications of the stock status report at that time. For further information on the importance of the northern shrimp fishery to the rural economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, please visit ffaw.nf.ca.