Manage Canadian fisheries based on the principles of historical attachment and adjacency.
For the past ten years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has applied fisheries management policies that have undermined the principles of adjacency and historical attachment. By moving away from these principles, the federal government is severing the wealth of the ocean from the communities that have existed for centuries because of the fishery.
Since 2009, pursuant to the Last In-First Out policy imposed by DFO, the owner-operator inshore northern shrimp quota has been cut by 47% while the factory-freezer offshore quota given to large corporations has been cut by just 18%. In 2016, if LIFO is applied, the inshore quota will be too low to fish economically and only one or two of the ten shrimp plants located in rural Newfoundland and Labrador will survive.
This issue isn’t isolated to northern shrimp. In the cod and halibut fisheries, DFO continues to apply management policies that favour the interests of the offshore fleet at the expense of inshore harvesters who are facing significant challenges.
Fisheries management policies that do not respect adjacency will ultimately result in a spike in unemployment, bankruptcy, and out-migration and will remove the social and economic fabric of large parts of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
Sound fisheries management must be based upon the historical dependence of those who live alongside the resource, which is the economic backbone for entire coastal regions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
We, the undersigned, call on the Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to commit to manage the Canadian fisheries based upon the principles of historical attachment and adjacency, meaning that those who live alongside and have a historical dependence upon the resource should be given priority access to the resource.
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