On January 26th, DFO announced plans to re-open the Unit 1 redfish fishery this year with a minimum total allowable catch of 25,000 tonnes.
More than a hundred people showed up at a rally in Corner Brook yesterday. Fish harvesters, supporters, politicians, and Indigenous leaders were at the Smallwood building to protest the Federal government’s allocation of redfish quotas. On January 26th, DFO announced plans to re-open the Unit 1 redfish fishery this year with a minimum total allowable catch of 25,000 tonnes. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Newfoundland, Brendan Mitchell, says the Qalipu signed a redfish agreement in 2017 with Barry Group that would bring many jobs to this area. He says Qalipu was expected to get 25,000 tonnes then. Bill Barry of Barry Group says the whole fishery is in a mess. He’s heard the original redfish announcement was changed. Corner Brook MHA Gerry Byrne says redfish has a 100 year future ahead of it. He quoted former Federal Fisheries Minister Romeo Leblanc in 1977 when he banned all offshore trawlers from fishing redfish in the Gulf and DFO said at the time the first 30,000 tonnes would go to Gulf based boats. Provincial fisheries Minister Elvis Loveless also spoke during the gathering. He says DFO made the wrong decision. The leader of the Opposition Tony Wakeham says the federal government passes on yet another opportunity to promote long-term economic sustainability to thousands of fish harvesters and plant workers in our province. He says the fishery is renewable and small communities rely and depend on it. Letters have been sent to the Federal Fisheries Minister asking her to reverse this decision.