Public Meeting Scheduled for Monday on DFO Policy Review
February 24, 2012
FFAW/CAW will be holding an open public meeting in St. John’s on Monday to facilitate public debate of a Department of Fisheries and Oceans policy review that has been kept behind closed doors.
FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy described the DFO policy review as “a very dangerous process. Their approach has the potential to permanently change the face of our fishery, to the great detriment of inshore harvesters. It’s being done behind closed doors and with indecent haste. We’re determined to initiate the public debate DFO has tried to avoid.”
Mr. McCurdy said the only consultation DFO conducted in this province was an invitation-only, closed-door meeting with an audience that was “totally unrepresentative of the fishery in our province.” Fish harvester groups in other provinces have reported a similar situation.
He said it was clear from that meeting that the Owner-Operator and Fleet Separation policies, which he described as “the cornerstone of our inshore fishery”, are under attack.
“This process is every bit as dangerous for inshore harvesters as Raw Material Sharing (RMS).”
Mr. McCurdy said DFO seems determined to run the Atlantic fishery the same way they run the Pacific fishery, which has no Owner-Operator or Fleet Separation policies.
“This policy in B.C. has been a disaster for fish harvesters and for coastal communities,” Mr. McCurdy said. “The wheeler-dealers make the money, and the working fishermen get left with the scraps.”
Dan Edwards, a longliner operator from Vancouver Island, will be addressing Monday’s meeting to give a first-hand account of the B.C. experience.
“This affects skippers, crew members and plant workers alike,” Mr. McCurdy said. “The B.C. policy has been a disaster for all of them. This is a chance for people in our fishery to hear about this first hand.”
He said the general public are welcome to attend the meeting, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Holiday Inn in St. John’s.
Following the meeting, Union members will be conducting a brief rally at the DFO regional headquarters at the White Hills in St. John’s.