Newfoundland crying unfair over P.E.I. tuna quota

Dave Stewart
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FILE PHOTO: Tuna at Northport harbour.

Gail Shea says if Newfoundland and Labrador wants to catch more, it must enter a review process

If fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador want to catch more tuna they're going to have to make their case to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

That was the message from federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea on Wednesday following comments from Newfoundland and Labrador MP Gerry Byrne earlier this week that his province should be able to catch as much bluefin tuna as P.E.I. fishermen.

Byrne told CBC that his province's tuna quota should climb from 13 per cent to a quarter of the catch following a decision this spring by Shea, which involved dividing an increase in the Gulf of St. Lawrence halibut quota equally between the Atlantic provinces.

That decision increased Newfoundland and Labrador's quota by nine per cent and P.E.I.'s by 87 per cent.

"DFO's priority is to ensure fisheries remain sustainable while maximizing economic opportunities for fishermen,'' Shea said Wednesday, adding that she is very encouraged to see the halibut in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and bluefin tuna stocks are resurging.

"In fact, Newfoundland fishermen benefited from increases of over 21t of Gulf halibut and over 12t of bluefin tuna in the 2015 fishing season.

At the start of the current fishing season, Shea announced that a review of historical bluefin tuna shares will take place before the 2016 season.

Several fishermen and associations feel the shares put in place in 2004 unfairly penalized fishermen that participate in other core fisheries and that the shares don't maximize the economic opportunities that the fishery has to offer.

The review will take into account the evolution of the fishery over the last decade, the need for rationalization, increased science and the need to maximize economic opportunities for fishermen.

Shea said that review will include any input fishermen from Newfoundland and Labrador wish to make.

"I invite Newfoundland fishermen to make their presentation to DFO through this process,'' she said.

The Guardian contacted the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association for comment but the call was not immediately returned.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, CBC

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I. Fishermen

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Recent comments

  • Island voter
    September 03, 2015 - 07:50

    I think Gail Shea done a crooked thing with the halibut quota as an election ploy. She set a precedent with this foolish move and Neefoundland should get more tuna quota based on it at the expense of PEI. Harper and his regime are going out! Do we need a Neuramburg trial too? Or would Ottawa be a better spot.? After Duffy , of course.

  • Shayne Clinton
    September 03, 2015 - 06:47

    Upwest proud doesn't have a clue what he talking about if he think PEI fishermen are getting a fair share of the resources. With the halibut PEI fishermen had to pay 250 dollar to catch 319 lb of halibut NS fishermen were allow to catch 5100 lb each and the Maggie fishermen were allow to what they caugh

  • upwest proud
    September 02, 2015 - 22:56

    Gail Shea is the only person ever to insure island fishers are receiving their fair share of the Canadian resource, others talk, Shea gets it done.

    • A Realist
      September 03, 2015 - 07:18

      You have got to be kidding!!!! Just ask fisherman what they think of her!! Where was she 5 years ago when the bottom dropped out of lobster prices and some fisherman lost their fishing gear!! She did nothing!!!