Inuit harvesters threaten legal action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, June 3rd, 2024

Inuit harvesters from northern Labrador are threatening to take the Nunatsivut government to court if their 2024 inshore shrimp allocations aren’t restored, and an investigation ordered into why they were reassigned to an offshore factory-freezer trawler.

“The spirit and intent of a communal licence is to provide local inshore Inuit with jobs and connect them to their culture and traditions, and that has been broken,” says Lisa Blandford, an Inuit harvester on behalf of the group.

The Nunatsivut government allocated 43% of its 2024 northern shrimp allocation to an Inuit designate to be caught by an offshore factory-freezer trawler, displacing six designates who fished for years with smaller, inshore boats.

Inuit harvesters have also raised questions of conflict of interest involving current and past members of the Nunatsiavut government, and have DFO documentation from 2003 that dictates shrimp quota is to be assigned specifically to the inshore.

The Inuit harvesters hired a lawyer, who on Friday (June 1st), sent a letter to Johannes Lampe, President of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, demanding the shrimp allocations be reinstated to the six inshore harvesters, as well as an independent investigation.

The letter was also accompanied by a petition that has been signed to date by roughly 120 Inuit, who held demonstrations last week outside Nunatsiavut government offices.

DFO is expected to open the shrimp fishery off northern Labrador in fishing zones 4 and 5 any day.

Contact Lisa Blandford: 709 897 7531

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