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Trudeau Government accused of ignoring fishing industry stakeholders and workers

By Evan Taylor Jul 6, 2023 | 11:31 AM

Conservative Shadow Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Clifford Small, has strongly criticized the Trudeau government for its refusal to increase quotas for Northern Cod and its decision to continue the Atlantic Mackerel moratorium. Small’s statement highlights the government’s alleged negligence towards fishing industry stakeholders and workers, which has sparked concerns about the economic impact on Newfoundland and Labrador.

In his statement, Small specifically targeted Trudeau’s Fisheries Minister, Joyce Murray, accusing her of disregarding the pleas of the fishing industry and harvesters by refusing to moderately increase fish quotas. He pointed out that a comprehensive survey assessment of fish stocks in Newfoundland has not been conducted since 2019, blaming the Liberals for failing to deliver on multiple promises to the industry. Small argues that this failure puts the livelihoods of working people in the fishing industry at risk.

According to Small, the Trudeau government has also fallen short in upholding its commitments on fisheries science, resulting in what he sees as arbitrary decisions that penalize working individuals without due consideration. He asserts that Minister Murray’s failure to complete stock surveys in 2022 has hindered the gathering of vital evidence necessary for making informed decisions regarding cod stocks. Small emphasizes that harvesters he has spoken to consistently report catch rates significantly higher than traditional levels, a fact that he claims the Trudeau government continues to overlook.

Small contends that the decision not to increase quotas for Northern Cod is particularly detrimental to families throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. The neglect of the abundant catch rates during the quota-setting process is viewed as a significant blow to fishermen and plant workers in the cod fishing area (2J3KL), exacerbating the financial strain caused by reduced earnings from the crab fishery.

Furthermore, Minister Murray’s choice to maintain the Atlantic mackerel fishery closure for the 2023 season drew additional criticism from Small. He revealed that this decision went against recommendations put forth by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO), which advocated for aligning the quota with the American mackerel allocation for 2023. Small argues that this move only compounds the frustration and economic losses experienced by fishermen and processors in Atlantic Canada who heavily rely on mackerel for their livelihoods, especially given the reported abundance of mackerel in the region this year.

The Conservative Shadow Minister strongly condemned the Trudeau government’s approach, asserting that it reflects a disregard for Atlantic Canadians, fishermen, and fish processors. Small argues that the government’s neglect has caused the fishing industry to suffer, and he promises that a Conservative government would prioritize evidence-based decision-making and support families who depend on the fishing industry in Atlantic Canada.


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