The association representing the industry says the fisheries union has it all wrong in its complaints about a recent trade-off in quota between Canadian companies and the Japanese fleet.
The FFAW-Unifor wants the arrangement reversed, partly because of concerns that it will allow the Japanese access to fish stocks in Canadian waters. They see it as a precedent, allowing foreign fishing fleets access to Canadian waters through the back door.
Bruce Chapman, executive director of the Atlantic Groundfish Council, says quota trading, swapping and transfers are not uncommon.
Canada is sending redfish and yellowtail flounder to Japan, and in turn Japan is sending 150 tonnes of turbot to Canada. Chapman says it’s a way to utilize species as the redfish and yellowtail would otherwise have been left in the water.
Chapman says the turbot stocks are a straddling stock and don’t recognize the 200-mile limit. Canadian vessels have their share, Canadian and the Japanese fleet have a smaller quota.
He says the foreign vessels fish just outside the limit but turbot swim both sides of the line.
The President of the FFAW is calling on the Federal Government to reverse a decision allowing Japanese fish harvesters to fill their quota for Turbot inside Canadian waters.
Earlier this week, the federal government announced a deal with Japan that will allow Japanese fish harvesters to fill their quota within a 200-mile radius.
In a call to VOCM Open Line with Paddy Daly, FFAW President Keith Sullivan said the decision is taking away opportunities for fish harvesters in this province. He says the Japanese quota is 150 tonnes while the most that harvesters can get access to in this province is 10 tonnes.
Sullivan says decisions like these are unacceptable. He says the federal government needs to take better care of the fish harvesters in this province.
Meanwhile, FISH-NL President Ryan Cleary is pointing his finger at the FFAW for helping to enable Japanese trade-off to take place.
Cleary says that back in 2007, amendments were made to the North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) which would allow foreign nations to fish within Canada’s 200-mile limit if Canada gave permission to do so.
In a call to VOCM Open Line with PAddy Daly, Cleary said the FFAW supported those changes at the time. He says the FFAW helped to open the door for this to happen, and that it is hypocritical for them to come out against it now.