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It’s about time

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It’s been a battle for inshore shrimp harvesters for years trying to have the government get rid of the last in, first out (LIFO) policy.

Some temporary good news came last week when federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo announced a temporary ban on both fishing in Area 6 — the only area where inshore shrimp harvesters are allowed to fish — and on the LIFO policy, pending a review on both.
The issue for these harvesters is the lack of spawning shrimp in the area, leading to a decrease in stock. A majority of them blame the offshore factory freezer trawlers destroying the breeding grounds and fishing the juvenile shrimp.
LIFO means that, when there’s a decline in the shrimp quotas, the last one that gained access would be the first ones to receive the decrease in allowable catch.
This means that inshore fish harvesters are the ones that will lose out, even though an individual vessel takes in substantially less than the offshore vessels.
Right now there is no balance, according to the inshore harvesters. It’s a seniority game, and the numbers are in favour of the offshore fishery.
If Jack owns a boat and fishes shrimp, he would likely receive a significant cut in his quota this year. The already announced decrease in biomass of shrimp earlier this year means a decrease in quotas. It’s simple math.
Instead of announcing quotas and a date to open the shrimp fishery, the federal government has placed a ban on fishing in area 6, the only area where Jack and his crewmates can fish.
But this is not all bad news for the inshore fishermen.
While the ban is in place, shrimp will have the chance to mature and hopefully continue to reproduce. If the ban continues or limitations are put in place for all those who fish Area 6, the idea is for the industry to eventually become self-stainable — assuming both inshore and offshore fishermen are treated to the same rules and regulations.
The ban in Area 6 will give the government a chance to review if the shrimp are declining for a certain reason, like overfishing during spawning season.
A fisherman confirmed those who fish from the Northern Peninsula agreed to not fish from April to May to allow reproduction and spawning. They cut their own time fishing so they could reap the benefit of large, mature shrimp instead of the shrimpy shrimp. Offshore vessels do not follow the same plan, and still fish these areas in April.
The federal government has made a choice to suspend the LIFO policy and fishing in area 6 to have independent reviews completed on both. Now, all we can do is wait and see what these results have to offer.
But if I were to ask the inshore fish harvesters, I’m sure I’d get the same response: It’s about time.

Some temporary good news came last week when federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo announced a temporary ban on both fishing in Area 6 — the only area where inshore shrimp harvesters are allowed to fish — and on the LIFO policy, pending a review on both.
The issue for these harvesters is the lack of spawning shrimp in the area, leading to a decrease in stock. A majority of them blame the offshore factory freezer trawlers destroying the breeding grounds and fishing the juvenile shrimp.
LIFO means that, when there’s a decline in the shrimp quotas, the last one that gained access would be the first ones to receive the decrease in allowable catch.
This means that inshore fish harvesters are the ones that will lose out, even though an individual vessel takes in substantially less than the offshore vessels.
Right now there is no balance, according to the inshore harvesters. It’s a seniority game, and the numbers are in favour of the offshore fishery.
If Jack owns a boat and fishes shrimp, he would likely receive a significant cut in his quota this year. The already announced decrease in biomass of shrimp earlier this year means a decrease in quotas. It’s simple math.
Instead of announcing quotas and a date to open the shrimp fishery, the federal government has placed a ban on fishing in area 6, the only area where Jack and his crewmates can fish.
But this is not all bad news for the inshore fishermen.
While the ban is in place, shrimp will have the chance to mature and hopefully continue to reproduce. If the ban continues or limitations are put in place for all those who fish Area 6, the idea is for the industry to eventually become self-stainable — assuming both inshore and offshore fishermen are treated to the same rules and regulations.
The ban in Area 6 will give the government a chance to review if the shrimp are declining for a certain reason, like overfishing during spawning season.
A fisherman confirmed those who fish from the Northern Peninsula agreed to not fish from April to May to allow reproduction and spawning. They cut their own time fishing so they could reap the benefit of large, mature shrimp instead of the shrimpy shrimp. Offshore vessels do not follow the same plan, and still fish these areas in April.
The federal government has made a choice to suspend the LIFO policy and fishing in area 6 to have independent reviews completed on both. Now, all we can do is wait and see what these results have to offer.
But if I were to ask the inshore fish harvesters, I’m sure I’d get the same response: It’s about time.

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