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  • FISH-NL Protestors Join Gillett at DFO in White Hills

    FISH-NL President Ryan Cleary accused MP Scott Simms of “playing politics” with a man’s life.

    Members of FISH-NL are demonstrating outside DFO Headquarters in St. John’s this morning, joining with Richard Gillett who is into the eighth day of a hunger strike.

    DFO offices have been closed for the day.

    Gillett’s wife Joyce and mother Linda are with him. His mom says while she supports his conviction, she’s very worried about his health and well being.

    Scott Simms, as a mediator for DFO, drove to St. John’s earlier this week to speak with Gillett and ask what it would take to end his hunger strike.

    Cleary says Gillett has two demands: He’s asking for an independent review of the FFAW’s “relationship” with DFO, and an independent review of DFO’s science and management.

    Cleary says Simms told him they can’t do a full review of science of all stocks, but he did make an alternate offer. Simms offered to Gillett that DFO will do an assessment of Northern Cod Tuesday evening, then a news release was issued the following morning indicating that a review was taking place.

    He says the FFAW then issued a release taking credit for northern cod stock assessments based on their meeting with federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc. Cleary accused Simms of “playing politics” with a man’s life.

    Cuts Unfortunate, But Doesn’t Change the Data, says DFO

    A spokesman for a DFO says it’s unfortunate that a fisherman is pursuing a hunger strike, and he understands it’s a difficult time due to sharp cuts to shrimp and crab quotas.

    However, Kevin Anderson says the cuts are based on scientific assessments and the ultimate goal is to preserve the stocks.

    Cleary however, is having none of it. He says Minister LeBlanc needs to address the issue.

    He even called on the Prime Minister to come down and address the crisis in the province’s fishery.

    DFO says it recognizes the right of people to protest and voice their concerns in a reasonable manner, but they do not engage in discussions with any person or group occupying or blocking access to their facilities.

    They are continuing to monitor the situation in the White Hills and the office will remain closed for the remainder of the day.

    Johanna Ryan-Guy of FISH-NL calls it a sad day for the fishery in the province.

    She told VOCM Open Line with Paddy Daly, she’s heartbroken to see what’s happening at White Hills in St. John’s, and what she calls a lack of respect for those involved.

    Ryan-Guy says this isn’t just about the fishery, she says this is about the entire province.

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