Unifor supports Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters’ call for reestablishment of Northern Cod Stewardship Fishery

by ahnationtalk on July 4, 202417 Views

July 3, 2024

Unifor and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) is urging the public to support fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador, who are calling for the federal government to reverse its decision to reopen the northern cod commercial fishery to the offshore companies and return instead to the stewardship fishery.

“The federal government needs to exercise responsibility and reinstate the Northern Cod Stewardship Fishery to ensure that the resource continues to rebuild and be protected for generations to come,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“If the government doesn’t make a move on this decision, it will negatively affect FFAW-Unifor members’ jobs at sea and on land, their coastal communities, and the northern cod species itself as it cannot withstand the increased fishing pressure of offshore Canadian and international vessels while it is in the Cautious Zone.”

Last week, the Canadian government announced plans to return the important species to commercial status and allow offshore draggers to access the cod stock.

FFAW-Unifor represents over 10,000 professional, owner-operator fish harvesters and crew members in the province is demanding the government return to a stewardship fishery, reaffirm the commitment to ban the offshore corporate fleet and re-implement all 2023 fishery rules.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in writing in 2015, that the 115,000mt commitment from 1982 would be protected, and that inshore harvesters would be the primary beneficiaries of the northern cod stock,” said FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty, referring to the Liberal campaign promise that the first 115,000mt of the cod quota would go to inshore harvesters as the stock rebuilds.

“But here we are at a quota of around 19,000t and the federal government is already letting the offshore draggers back onto the water. We need to protect our plant workers, our owner-operator harvesters, and the long-term sustainability of our coastal communities.”

Harvesters say the stewardship fishery should remain in place until the 115,000mt threshold is met, and at which time the offshore group could be permitted access to the fishery. Until that point, the inshore, owner-operator fishery and Indigenous groups should be the only beneficiaries of the historical and economically critical fishery.

FFAW-Unifor is asking all concerned citizens to sign the just launched an e-petition asking for a return to the stewardship fishery and to reaffirm the 115,000mt commitment. For more information, go to saveourcod.ca.

Media Contact

Jenny Yuen

National Communications Representative


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