Shrimp fishing off the northeastern and southeastern coasts of Newfoundland is in crisis according to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union and it is calling for a halt.
David Decker, secretary-treasurer of the FFAW, said that the biomass in one shrimp fishing area is down 40 per cent in the last year, which is bad news for the the several communities that rely on the fishery.
Decker described the situation citing the steady decline. He said the shrimp fleet in area 6 had access to 131 million pounds of shrimp in 2009, but only 59 million pounds in 2015. The decline is expected to continue with just 12 million pounds this year.
“We need a full assessment of that stock, because this is based on just an update, and we need then to talk about, if indeed there needs to be cutbacks, and how are these cutbacks going to be shared,” Decker told CBC in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
“We can’t just cut off our communities.” Decker said. “It’s absolutely crucial that Ottawa act now,”
Earle McCurdy, leader of the left-leaning New Democratic Party in the province, supports the halt on northern shrimp harvesting. He said it would be irresponsible to continue until a full assessment of the situation is conducted.
“The economic implications of this development are potentially devastating for thousands of fish harvesters, plant workers, and processors, and their communities in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said in a statement.