March 27, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Fisheries ministers from New Brunswick and Quebec today expressed concern over persistent rumours that Gail Shea, minister of fisheries and oceans Canada, is about to provide Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia with greater access to shrimp from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
"Such a scenario is totally unacceptable," said Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet and Quebec's Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Laurent Lessard, in a joint statement. "The shrimp fleet is in great financial difficulty, and any reallocation of shrimp would be disastrous to it."
Regional shares of shrimp have been clearly established for several years, and the ministers said that it would be very dangerous to redefine them. Any change would create instability during a period of difficult economic times for the entire Atlantic fisheries.
"By favouring fishermen from her province to the detriment of New Brunswick and Québec, Minister Shea would be sacrificing the interests of the shrimp industry and the communities that depend on that resource," Doucet and Lessard said in the statement. "We will not stand idly by and let this happen."
Québec and New Brunswick hold 59.8 per cent and 21.8 per cent, respectively, of Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp allocations, which generate 2,000 jobs in Quebec, with an annual shipment value of $50 million. In New Brunswick, the shrimp industry generates 300 direct jobs, and represents about $20 million in exports.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Angélique Binet, communications, Department of Fisheries, 506-457- 3549; Paul Harpelle, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-444- 4218.