Harvesters plan protest fishery over DFO decision to close mackerel fishery to Newfoundland, while leaving open for Maritimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, Oct. 16th, 2018

Inshore harvesters on Newfoundland’s northeast coast plan to hold a protest fishery for mackerel Wednesday evening over the decision by Fisheries and Oceans to shut down the Atlantic fishery, while leaving it open for harvesters from the Maritimes.

“We’re going fishing for mackerel Wednesday evening,” says Brad Rideout, who fishes out of Robert’s Arm. “DFO can either shut down the entire Atlantic mackerel fishery or give quota to Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters. Fair is fair, and nothing about this is fair.”

Earlier this year, DFO set the 2018 total allowable catch (TAC) for Atlantic mackerel at 10,000 tonnes, which was caught as of Oct. 10 when the fishery was shut down.

But while the fishery is closed in Newfoundland and Labrador, harvesters from the Maritimes are permitted to handline up to 1,000 pounds of mackerel a day until Nov. 30th for personal-use bait.

Rideout says 3,500 tonnes of the 10,000-tonne Atlantic mackerel quota was taken before the fish showed up in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador, and to allow a handline fishery to continue in the Maritimes after the commercial fishery is closed adds insult to injury.

“We’ll never get an increase in mackerel quota as long as fishermen from the Maritimes can fish after we’re finished,” he said. “There’s either quota for everyone or quota for no one.”

As of Tuesday morning, up to seven longliners were expected to take part in the protest fishery, dropping seines in the waters of White Bay and Green Bay. Local fishermen have traditionally use seines to fish mackerel, not handline.

Contact Brad Rideout: 673 7250