SEA-NL Calls on Federal Fisheries Minister to Reverse Decision to Limit Increase to 2021 Northern Shrimp Quota

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

The Seaward Enterprises Association, Newfoundland Labrador (SEA-NL) calls on the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reverse her decision to limit the increase to the 2021 northern shrimp quota off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland.

“DFO went outside its own rule book to limit the increase to this year’s quota, which will translate into the loss of more than 2,000 tonnes of shrimp to the province’s inshore fleet,” says Ryan Cleary, interim Executive Director of SEA-NL, a new association to represent the province’s more than 3,000 independent owner-operators.

“Enterprise owners are being punished for their sacrifices and Mother Nature’s turnaround. SEA-NL calls on the minster to revisit her decision.”

Cleary wrote federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan Tuesday regarding her recent decision to institute a year-over-year limit of 15% to this year’s northern shrimp quota off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland. (A copy of the letter is attached.)

The area, known as shrimp fishing area (SFA) 6, is fished mostly by the province’s inshore fleet, and is deemed to be in the “critical zone” under DFO’s precautionary approach management system.

DFO science recorded an increase in the Area 6 spawning stock of 42% between 2020 and 2021, and harvesters expected a corresponding increase in quota.

Instead, DFO set the 2021 quota for Area 6 shrimp at 9,534 tonnes, limiting the year-over-year quota increase to 15% — even though such limits to quota increases in critical zones aren’t mentioned in DFO’s Integrated Fisheries Management plan, which outlines the department’s “rules” for managing the shrimp stock.

“When those rules aren’t followed it leads to uncertainty, instability, and frustration in the fishing industry, particularly, in this case, amongst the province’s inshore shrimp fleet,” Cleary said.

“A 40 per increase in the Area 6 shrimp quota would still only result in a 10% exploitation rate, which is what DFO’s own management plan allows for when a stock is in the critical zone.”

The difference in shrimp quota between a 15%-40% increase in quota for Area 6 amounts to a 2,072 tonne (4.6 million/lb loss) to Newfoundland and Labrador’s inshore fleet, which has struggled in recent years as the result of severe quota cuts.

Contact: Ryan Cleary 682 4862