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P&ecirc ;fishing for redfish: the grievances of fishermen are multiplying

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The announcement of Minister Diane Lebouthillier does not contact fishermen's associations.


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More than a week after the announcement of the return of redfish fishing, it is clear that the announcement of the Minister Diane Lebouthillier does not go near the fishermen.

Two fishermen's associations, one from the Acadian Peninsula and the other from Gaspésie, say they continue to discover new undesirable effects of the policy of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) relating to the reopening of redfish fishing .

This announcement had all the necessary ingredients to become a historic moment for fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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Claudio Bernatchez, general director of the Gaspésie captain-owners cooperative, believes that the federal government must redo its homework regarding the reopening of redfish fishing. (File photo)

However, this is not what is happening from the point of view of their associations.

I would tell you that there are hundreds, even thousands of Canadians in the east of the country who realize the fiasco into which Minister Lebouthillier has embarked in the name of her Prime Minister, indicated during an interview the general director of the Association of Captains Owners of Gaspésie (ACPG), Claudio Bernatchez.

The general director of the Acadian Regional Federation of Professional Fishermen ( FRAPP), Jean Lanteigne, for his part deplores the lack of flexibility from the federal government.

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It's as if the decisions were anchored in cement: it was done, it was taken. Get organized with what that means, he denounces.

According to fishermen's associations, several decisions made regarding the reopening of the redfish fishery – including the quota, the portion offered to shrimp fishermen and the possibility of allowing 100-foot boats to fish in the gulf – are a source of frustration .

The job was downright poorly done.

A quote from Claudio Bernatchez, general director of the Association of Captains and Owners of Gaspésie.

It would be worth erasing all that and then starting from scratch on more current, more solid bases, because this plan is in no way intended to support Eastern Canada , let go of Mr. Bernatchez.

Friday, a meeting between the DFO and the industry particularly raised eyebrows, says FRAPP.< /p>

We asked the question: how were the quotas going to be distributed? We were told that it would be a competitive quota, at least for the first two years, complains Jean Lanteigne.

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Jean Lanteigne, general director of the Acadian Regional Federation of Professional Fishermen, deplores that the DFO wishes to establish a competitive quota during the first two years of the redfish fishery.

A competitive quota means that once fishing begins, redfish fishermen will have to jostle to recover the resource as quickly as possible.

We open the barriers and it’s a race. This is a complete downgrade of everything we have seen in the modernization of our fisheries. We don't move forward, we go backwards, he analyzes.

In Gaspésie, the ACPG alleges that more bad news is coming. According to this association, recent DFO projections which have not yet been made public indicate that redfish stocks will decline within a few years, due to lack of food in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">When it comes out publicly that the stock of redfish, after having destroyed the stocks of northern shrimp and turbos, is in the process of withering away and dying a beautiful death, somewhere, there will have to be someone accountable for all of eastern Canada at that time, says Mr. Bernatchez.

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Diane Lebouthillier, federal MP for Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, at a press conference in Ottawa on October 26, 2021.

In an email sent to Radio-Canada on Saturday, a DFO spokesperson indicated that Friday's meeting served to remind industry players that the total allowable catch had not been set but that its value would not be less than 25,000 tonnes.

We recognize that we still have much work to do in collaboration with stakeholders in the fishing sector , we can read in this email. Over the coming weeks and months, the ministry will be in touch to discuss sub-allocations for coastal, mid-shore and indigenous allocations.

Minister Lebouthillier invited media representatives on Monday to take stock of the situation of shrimpers and the reopening of redfish fishing.

According to information from Alix Villeneuve

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