Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Minister Gerry Byrne is not happy with the redfish fishing quota his province received.

Redfish: Fisheries and Oceans « en moral bankruptcy »

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Gerry Byrne says he is “very angry” with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. (Archive photo)


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A Newfoundland elected official is furious because of the redfish quota that Fisheries and Oceans Canada granted to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gerry Byrne, former Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries minister and current immigration minister, says the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO ) is morally and intellectually bankrupt because of this decision.

After a moratorium of nearly 30 years, redfish fishing will resume in 2024 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The federal Minister of Fisheries, Diane Lebouthillier, announced the quota that will be allowed to fish as well as the distribution by province.

The third (33 %) is allocated to Nova Scotia, 32% to fishermen from Quebec, 19% to those from Newfoundland and Labrador, 11% to New Brunswick and 5% to Prince Edward Island.

In an interview Thursday, Gerry Byrne said he was upset and very angry with DFO since he learned what the federal government agreed to in Newfoundland and Labrador.

LoadingThe agreement in principle between the FAE and Quebec narrowly accepted

ELSELSE ON INFO: The agreement in principle between the FAE and Quebec narrowly accepted

He accuses Minister Lebouthillier of endangering redfish stocks in the Gulf by granting too much quota to fishermen from other provinces who are not as close to this species. Newfoundland, he said, already has plenty of fish in its waters, people to catch it and factories to process it.

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Factories on the west coast of Newfoundland already have the capacity to process redfish, says Gerry Byrne. (Archive photo)

He says he is scandalized that quotas are given to offshore fleets and to communities that do not immediately have neither the boats nor the workers to do this fishing.

Newfoundland and Labrador has 90 boats in the gulf — most of them on Newfoundland's west coast — that are ready to go out fishing for redfish, says the Corner Brook MP.

He also maintains that West Coast factories already have the capacity to process this fish.

It is a high quantity, but low value species. Difficult to market, difficult to process, difficult to fish. If you don't already have the expertise and capacity, you're going to be in trouble, he warns.

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Gerry Byrne served as Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Fisheries from July 2017 to August 2020. (File photo) redfish was closed in 1995. Biomass in the Gulf has rebounded and is now estimated at 2 million tonnes by DFO. The federal government is ignoring the extent of conservation efforts being made in the west of the island of Newfoundland, according to the provincial MP.

The story of the return of the redfish fishery to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which DFO should tell, is the story of the full power, the full prowess, the full intellectual capacity demonstrated in the management of groundfish stocks, for their sustainable future, says Gerry Byrne.

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Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Diane Lebouthillier, during her visit to Saint-Jean de Terre on January 16 -New.

At 19%, Newfoundland and Labrador's share is 2% higher than in 1993. The week Last year, DFO indicated that this is only an estimate, as consultations on sub-allocations are still ongoing.

Gerry Byrne says he intends to immediately raise the issue with stakeholders in the province, with the provincial Minister of Fisheries, Elvis Loveless, and with the federal department.

With information from CBC

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